• 3 hours UK On Track To Approve Construction of “Mini” Nuclear Reactors
  • 7 hours LNG Glut To Continue Into 2020s, IEA Says
  • 9 hours Oil Nears $52 With Record OPEC Deal Compliance
  • 12 hours Saudi Aramco CEO Affirms IPO On Track For H2 2018
  • 14 hours Canadia Ltd. Returns To Sudan For First Time Since Oil Price Crash
  • 15 hours Syrian Rebel Group Takes Over Oil Field From IS
  • 3 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 3 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 3 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 3 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 3 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 3 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 3 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 4 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 4 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 4 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 4 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 4 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 4 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 4 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 4 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 4 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 4 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 5 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 5 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 5 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 5 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 5 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 6 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 6 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 6 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 6 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 6 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 6 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 6 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 6 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 7 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 7 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 7 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 7 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
The End Of The Oil Majors?

The End Of The Oil Majors?

There appears to be a…

Giant Pandas Help Improve the Biofuel Production Process

Giant Pandas Help Improve the Biofuel Production Process

The Giant Pandas Ya Ya and Le Le at the Memphis Zoo are helping scientist Ashli Brown in her search to improve current methods for producing biofuels from non-food plant material, as opposed to corn and other useful crops.

Ms. Brown is studying the microbes found in the panda’s faeces. “We have discovered microbes in panda feces might actually be a solution to the search for sustainable new sources of energy,” she said.

Ya Ya and Le Le

One of the major challenges for producing biofuels on a large scale is the difficulty of breaking down the biomass to release the fermentable sugars trapped within the cellulose. It is thought that the microbes found within the panda’s guts could provide a new method of quickly and efficiently achieving this result.

Nearly 99% of a panda’s diet consists of tough, woody shots and stems of bamboo, of which they eat between 20 and 40 pounds a day. In order to break down the woody bamboo the panda’s guts contain several different bacteria. To live in such an environment the bacteria must be strong, but also fast working and efficient due to the shortness of the panda’s digestive tract.

Ms. Brown explained that “the time from eating to defecation is comparatively short in the panda, so their microbes have to be very efficient to get nutritional value out of bamboo.”

Related article: Algae Produces more Fat for Biofuels when Starved

Woody biomass such as corn stalks, cobs, wood chips, and switch grass are considered perfect sources of material for creating biofuel as they do not compete for precious crop land; however breaking down the material is costly and time consuming, often requiring expensive treatment process using heat, high pressure, and acid.

Ms. Brown is working in conjunction with scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has identified the specific bacteria that breakdown lignocellulose into simple sugars for fermenting ethanol. She has also found bacteria that can turn those cellulosic sugars into oils and fats which are used to produce biodiesel.

The use of these bacteria could help create a more cost effective method for producing biomass-based biofuels on a commercial scale.

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News