Biofuel can be defined as the type of fuel that is derived from carbon fixation, through a biological process. The fuel components in themselves actually fall under a broader category, with their different individualistic qualities and impact on environment. However, generally speaking, they are all seen as cost effective and low emission alternatives to their carbon related cousins, fossil fuels. In this regard, worldwide biofuel production reached 105 billion liters in 2010, thus accounting for 2.7 percent of road transport fuel. However, in this article, we would briefly go through some uniquely smart technologies that convert byproducts into biofuel with improved potential for efficiency.
1. Researchers convert whiskey byproducts into biobutanol
In a development process that had taken more than two years, researchers at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, have contrived a way to produce biobutanol from the byproducts of whisky distilling. The byproducts in question are actually pot ale, a liquid derived from the copper stills and draff, the spent grains for the alcohol. The resulting butanol is touted to have 30 percent more energy than ethanol, while being ‘greener’ than conventional petroleum products.
2. Algae to convert carbon dioxide into biofuel
Algae are one of those natural organisms that manage to remove carbon dioxide from our environment, by siphoning it off for its own growth process. In fact, this naturalistic system can result in generation of fuel oriented byproducts such as ethanol or biodiesel. And, that is exactly what the collaborative effort of GreenFuel Technologies and NRG Energy entails. According to their endeavor, the commercial harvesting of algae insinuates a natural yet efficient process of conceiving alternative fuels for the state of New York.
3. Milk-based biofuel a new alternative at Kiwi pumps
Gull Petroleum of New Zealand has certainly treaded the novel path, when it comes to green technology. Eschewing traditional elements like natural plants and micro organisms, their biofuel product consists of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. However, this ethanol in itself is derived from milk, produced by Fonterra’s Edgecumbe diary factory. And, beyond the seeming eccentricity, the credible result has actually made its commercial debut at all Gull petrol pumps across the country.
4. Biodiesel from used cooking oil at your home
This convenient process is envisaged as an individualistic solution to sustainability that can be initiated from your very home. In fact, the DIY low cost method only requires a few resources like waste cooking oil, lye, methanol and a few processing items like a tank, pipes and a biodiesel container.
5. Biodiesel to be made out of chicken fat
Yes, tumbling down the rabbit hole gets stranger and stranger. Well, this time, chemical engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have envisaged a process of converting chicken fat into biodiesel fuel. By utilizing the component of supercritical Methanol, the method entails the conversion of fatty acids, the byproducts of wood pulping. The resulting cost effective biodiesel is touted to have 90 percent efficiency.
6. Churning butter into biodiesel
Some entries ago, we came across the exclusive technology of ethanol being derived from milk. However, according to an online published paper in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, the combined effect of purified butter with other vegetable or animal fats also can result in a credible form of biofuel. The only question remains: is the option feasible for a long term solution?
7. Garden waste to transform into biofuel
A collaborative study from Carbon Trust and the University of York has found out that utilization of microwave technology could turn garden and wood waste into biofuel. The process termed as ‘pyrolysis’ entails the heating of the waste, without oxygen. In fact, the derived naturalistic biofuel will emanate 95 percent less carbon dioxide than conventional fuels, which translates to negation of carbon emission from 3 million cars annually.
8. Turning beer into biofuel
We have all heard about ‘moonshines’. But, this time around, we have a more conscientiously ‘functional’ solution in the form of producing biodiesel from beer. A study done by Abertay’s School of Contemporary Sciences, certainly prove this fact, with the resultant biofuel having the potential to emit at least 65 percent less greenhouse gas than comparative fossil fuels.
9. Minnesota firm to make biofuel out of recycled beverage
Minnesota based Diversified Ethanol have also gone the ‘alcoholic’ way to conceive biofuel from beverages. According to the company, their indigenous technology could convert the liquid based waste from breweries, beverage recycling and food processing facilities to ethanol. As a matter of fact, a 5 million gallon capacity plant has already been commercially installed for a major soda recycler in Southern California.
10. Watermelon waste to be used in biofuel production
Biofuel production from food crops like corn actually alludes to wastage of resources like water. On the other hand, waste materials from certain crops can be used for biofuel generation, in a recyclable fashion. In this regard, statistics show that at least 20 percent of all watermelons, which are not fit for consumption, can be used in such energy efficient processes. In fact, watermelon juice contains all the essential compounds like free amino acid and fermentable sugar that are apt for bioethanol generation.