Common Weed Could Become New, Green Bio Jet Fuel

A new study by OSU researchers found that the common farm weed, pennycress or commonly known as stinkweed, could make a greener jet fuel. It would have less production-related impacts on the environment than other biofuels.

The study found that growing stinkweed requires less pesticide and less fertilizer than other plants appropriate for making renewable jet fuel. Both are would be a win for the farmland and surrounding environment it was grown in.

Stinkweed also requires fewer physical operations like tiling of the soil than other biofuel crops. This would reduce the environmental cost of tiling like carbon dioxide emissions and other emissions.

The study also found that additional environmental impacts could be lessened by techniques that keep fertilizer on the field instead of it becoming run off to local watersheds.

Study authors stated that these changes will not mean just incremental changes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from air travel but a fundamental change in how the industry has been producing fuel and where it comes from.

The Journal “Applied Energy” published the article online.

 

Scientists Discover Method to Streamline Biofuel Creation

Scientists have discovered a less expensive, more efficient method to create a chemical reaction at the heart of many biological processes. This discovery may lead to a better ways to produce biofuels from plants.

Finding a cheap and easy way to create biofuels has become a worldwide “holy grail” of sorts for many scientists. This new study suggests it is possible.

Scientists around the world have been trying for years to create biofuels and other bioproducts more cheaply; this study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that it is possible to do so.

Researchers say while converting sugar to alcohol is a simple process (discovered by the first people to create beer); however, to get a result that competes energy wise with fossil fuels the process has to be incredibly efficient. Even with government subsidies there is no way to make the current process cost competitive. The new discovery could help change that.

The new process involves a simpler method of generating “helper molecules” that turn carbon in cells into energy.