• 3 minutes China has *Already* Lost the Trade War. Meantime, the U.S. Might Sanction China’s Largest Oil Company
  • 7 minutes Saudi and UAE pressure to get US support for Oil quotas is reportedly on..
  • 11 minutes China devalues currency to lower prices to address new tariffs. But doesn't help. Here is why. . . .
  • 15 minutes What is your current outlook as a day trader for WTI
  • 1 hour In The Bright Of New Administration Rules: Immigrants as Economic Contributors
  • 4 hours Will Uncle Sam Step Up and Cut Production
  • 12 mins Long Range Attack On Saudi Oil Field Ends War On Yemen
  • 10 hours Domino Effect: Rashida Tlaib Rejects Israel's Offer For 'Humanitarian' Visit To West Bank
  • 10 hours Gretta Thunbergs zero carbon voyage carbon foot print of carbon fibre manufacture
  • 2 hours * 8 to 10 "good" years left in oil industry * UAE model for Economic Deversification * Others spent oil billions on terrorism, wars, lopping off heads * Too late now
  • 4 hours CLIMATE PANIC! ELEVENTY!!! "250,000 people die a year due to the climate crisis"
  • 10 hours Continental Resource's Hamm wants shale to cut production. . . He can't compete with peers.
  • 15 hours NATGAS, LNG, Technology, benefits etc , cleaner global energy fuel
  • 24 hours Significant: Boeing Delays Delivery Of Ultra-Long-Range Version Of 777X
  • 1 day Strait Of Hormuz As a Breakpoint: Germany Not Taking Part In U.S. Naval Mission
  • 23 hours Why Oil is Falling (including conspiracy theories and other fun stuff)
  • 13 hours Trump vs. Xi Trade Battle, Running Commentary from Conservative Tree House
  • 5 hours US Petroleum Demand Strongest Since 2007
Alt Text

Turkey’s Big Nuclear Energy Ambitions

Despite operational challenges, delays and…

Alt Text

Can The U.S. Keep Its Nuclear Industry Afloat?

The United States is severely…

Alt Text

Australia Considers Lifting Its Nuclear Energy Ban

Australia has never been particularly…

Futurity

Futurity

Futurity covers research news from the top universities in the US, UK, Canada and Australia

More Info

Premium Content

Using Bacteria to Increase Efficiency of Biofuel Production

A new way of making biofuel produces 20 times more energy than existing methods by adding bacteria that turn by products into electricity.

The results of a new study, published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology, showcase a novel way to use microbes to produce biofuel and hydrogen, all while consuming agricultural wastes.

Gemma Reguera, a Michigan State University microbiologist, has developed bioelectrochemical systems known as microbial electrolysis cells, or MECs, using bacteria to breakdown and ferment agricultural waste into ethanol.

Reguera’s platform is unique because it employs a second bacterium, which, when added to the mix, removes all the waste fermentation by-products or non-ethanol materials while generating electricity.

Similar microbial fuel cells have been investigated before. However, maximum energy recoveries from corn stover, a common feedstock for biofuels, hover around 3.5 percent. Reguera’s platform, despite the energy invested in chemical pretreatment of the corn stover, averaged 35 to 40 percent energy recovery just from the fermentation process, says Reguera, an AgBioResearch scientist who co-authored the paper with Allison Spears, a Michigan State graduate student.

“This is because the fermentative bacterium was carefully selected to degrade and ferment agricultural wastes into ethanol efficiently and to produce by-products that could be metabolized by the electricity-producing bacterium,” Reguera says.

“By removing the waste products of fermentation, the growth and metabolism of the fermentative bacterium also was stimulated. Basically, each step we take is custom-designed to be optimal.”

The second bacterium, Geobacter sulfurreducens, generates electricity. The electricity, however, isn’t harvested as an output. It is used to generate hydrogen in the MEC to increase the energy recovery process even more, Reguera says.

“When the MEC generates hydrogen, it actually doubles the energy recoveries,” she says. “We increased energy recovery to 73 percent. So the potential is definitely there to make this platform attractive for processing agricultural wastes.”

Reguera’s fuel cells use corn stover treated by the ammonia fibre expansion process, an advanced pretreatment technology pioneered at Michigan State. AFEX is an already proven method that was developed by Bruce Dale, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, who is currently working to make AFEX viable on a commercial scale.

In a similar vein, Reguera is continuing to optimize her MECs so they, too, can be scaled up on a commercial basis. Her goal is to develop decentralized systems that can help process agricultural wastes. Decentralized systems could be customized at small to medium scales (scales such as compost bins and small silages, for example) to provide an attractive method to recycle the wastes while generating fuel for farms.

By. Layne Cameron




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Jennifer Green on July 17 2012 said:
    or we could improve our enzymatic solutions
    http://www.renewable-energy-technology.net/geothermal-bioenergy/us-enzyme-tech-boost-biofuel-production

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play