background preloader


Facebook Twitter

‘Reverse Photosynthesis’ Process Discovered. A team of scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden has discovered a natural process it describes as reverse photosynthesis.

‘Reverse Photosynthesis’ Process Discovered

Fungi use reverse photosynthesis to access sugars and nutrients in plants. This image shows the rust fungus Aecidium magellanicum growing on the bush Berberis microphylla. Image credit: Jason Hollinger / CC BY-SA 3.0. “This is a game changer, one that could transform the industrial production of fuels and chemicals, thus serving to reduce pollution significantly,” said Prof. Claus Felby from the Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen, who is senior author of a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications. In the process of reverse photosynthesis, the energy in solar rays breaks down — rather than builds plant material — as is the case with photosynthesis. “Everything is mixed in a test tube and exposed to sunlight.

tBJ:The 55 uses of biochar. It turns out that the stable carbon matrix that biochar is made of has all kinds of interesting properties.

tBJ:The 55 uses of biochar

This carbon matrix can hold on to things – water, air, metals and organic chemicals. And it also has unique thermal and electrical properties that are still being explored. Finally, the highly porous physical structure of biochar provides habitat for microorganisms. EDITORIAL: Biofuels paper something to brag about. IN A matter of weeks a brand new industry could be born in South Africa.

EDITORIAL: Biofuels paper something to brag about

Last week the government published the long awaited and rather innocuous-sounding Draft Position Paper on the South African Biofuels Regulatory Framework. Rwanda's deadly methane lake becomes source of future power. Plans are in place to pump out enough gas for power that would nearly double Rwanda's current electricity capacity, as well as reducing the chance of what experts warn could be a potentially "catastrophic" natural disaster.

Rwanda's deadly methane lake becomes source of future power

The glittering waters of the inland sea, which straddles the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, contain a dangerous and potent mix of the dissolved gases that if disturbed would create a rare "limnic eruption" or "lake overturn", expert Matthew Yalire said. Levels of carbon dioxide (Co2) and methane are large and dangerous enough to risk a sudden release that could cause a disastrous explosion, after which waves of Co2 would suffocate people and livestock around, explained Yalire, a researcher at the Goma Volcano Observatory, on the lake's DR Congo shore. Agave fuels global excitement as a bioenergy crop. Exclusive report - Boeing reveals “the biggest breakthrough in biofuels ever” Oil companies watch out.

Exclusive report - Boeing reveals “the biggest breakthrough in biofuels ever”

Biofuels are on the verge of a breakthrough that will transform the oil market. Not only that: it will also green the planet. In an exclusive interview with and Energy Post, Darrin L. Morgan, Director Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Environmental Strategy at Boeing, reveals that researchers at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, funded by Boeing, Honeywell and Etihad Airways, may have achieved “the biggest breakthrough in biofuels ever”. Alarmed by the poor quality of fuel made from shale oil and tar sands and frustrated by the blunt refusal of oil companies to provide fuel of better quality, Boeing and its partners have over the past four years sponsored research into alternative fuels that has led to spectacular results. Wood could bring power to those without electricity. The largest renewable source of energy being used in South Africa is one that has been used for millennia – wood.

Wood could bring power to those without electricity

More than 10% of households use this as their primary source of energy supply, with 80% of these relying on firewood and charcoal to cook and warm their houses. A fifth of urban households and half of rural households are still not connected to the grid. This equates to over three-million households. The two million in rural areas are especially problematic because they are far from the main grid so connecting them is very expensive. The white paper on renewable energy identified biomass as an important source of renewable energy. High-Yield Production of Dihydrogen from Xylose by Using a Synthetic Enzyme Cascade in a Cell-Free System - Martín del Campo - 2013 - Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Microalgae Lamp Absorbs 150-200 Times More CO2 than a Tree! This Micro-Algae Lamp Absorbs 150-200 Times More CO2 than a Tree! (Video) CleanTechnica/via French biochemist and Shamengo pioneer Pierre Calleja has invented this impressive streetlight that is powered by algae which absorbs CO2 from the air.

We have featured algae-powered lamps before but this one takes out 1 ton (!) Of CO2 per year. ‘Wired microbes’ generate electricity from sewage. Stanford scientists have developed a “battery” that harnesses a special type of microbe to produce electricity by digesting the plant and animal waste dissolved in sewage (credit: Xing Xie, Stanford Engineering) Interdisciplinary team creates ‘microbial battery’ driven by naturally occurring bacteria that evolved to produce electricity as they digest organic material.

‘Wired microbes’ generate electricity from sewage

Engineers at Stanford University have devised a new way to generate electricity from sewage using naturally occurring “wired microbes” as mini power plants that produce electricity as they digest plant and animal waste. A Dream of Glowing Trees Is Assailed for Gene-Tinkering. The project, which will use a sophisticated form of genetic engineering called synthetic biology, is attracting attention not only for its audacious goal, but for how it is being carried out.

A Dream of Glowing Trees Is Assailed for Gene-Tinkering

Rather than being the work of a corporation or an academic laboratory, it will be done by a small group of hobbyist scientists in one of the growing number of communal laboratories springing up around the nation as biotechnology becomes cheap enough to give rise to a do-it-yourself movement. The project is also being financed in a D.I.Y. sort of way: It has attracted more than $250,000 in pledges from about 4,500 donors in about two weeks on the Web site Kickstarter. The effort is not the first of its kind. A university group created a glowing tobacco plant a few years ago by implanting genes from a marine bacterium that emits light. But the light was so dim that it could be perceived only if one observed the plant for at least five minutes in a dark room. Dr. Dr. Exclusive: Pioneering scientists turn fresh air into petrol in massive boost in fight against energy crisis - Home News - UK. Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced five litres of petrol since August when it switched on a small refinery that manufactures gasoline from carbon dioxide and water vapour.

Exclusive: Pioneering scientists turn fresh air into petrol in massive boost in fight against energy crisis - Home News - UK

The company hopes that within two years it will build a larger, commercial-scale plant capable of producing a ton of petrol a day. It also plans to produce green aviation fuel to make airline travel more carbon-neutral. Tim Fox, head of energy and the environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, said: "It sounds too good to be true, but it is true. They are doing it and I've been up there myself and seen it. The innovation is that they have made it happen as a process. Although the process is still in the early developmental stages and needs to take electricity from the national grid to work, the company believes it will eventually be possible to use power from renewable sources such as wind farms or tidal barrages. New biofuel process dramatically improves energy recovery. EAST LANSING, Mich. — A new biofuel production process created by Michigan State University researchers produces 20 times more energy than existing methods. The results, 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, MSU 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 byproducts or nonethanol 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. The second bacterium, Geobacter sulfurreducens, generates electricity. Planes of the future could fly on sawdust or straw. How to Make Biodiesel at Home With Supermarket-Procurable Substances. First of all, you should be working in a highly ventilated area just because you’ll be using methanol, a highly-flammable substance in a mix with lye (potassium hydroxide).

How to Make Biodiesel at Home With Supermarket-Procurable Substances

For turning one liter of vegetable oil into a proper biodiesel fuel, you need 250 milliliters of methanol (which can be found in fuel line additives) and 4 grams of drain cleaner (lye) – Mr. Muscolo, Red Devil and the such. Of couse, you’ll need to wear protective glasses and rubber gloves, if you value your eyes/hands. You should first mix the methanol and lye in a glass bottle until all the lye is dissolved into the methanol (forming what’s called “methoxide”). Next, you should heat up the vegetable oil to 140 ºF or 60 ºC. Teen's biofuel invention turns algae into fuel. Biofuel breakthrough: Quick cook method turns algae into oil. Biofuels offer sorghum new growth hopes. GRAIN SA expected the development this year of South Africa’s first major bio-ethanol production facility to use sorghum would help reverse the fortunes of a declining agricultural sector, its CEO, Jannie de Villiers, said recently.

The agricultural sector has been pushing the government to finalise the regulatory framework enabling independent players to get into the generation of energy, including electricity and biofuels. People in agriculture believe small-scale farmers would benefit because of the potential for off-take contracts that would guarantee them steady income and encourage them to grow feedstock. According to Mr de Villiers, the biofuels industry would offer unique opportunities for sorghum production, thus encouraging more farmers to increase hectares for its production. As a result, the grain farmers’ body was expecting a steady increase in sorghum production once the biofuel industry settles, with farmers wanting to take advantage of higher prices. Food versus Fuel: Native Plants Make Better Ethanol. A mix of perennial grasses and herbs might offer the best chance for the U.S. to produce a sustainable biofuel, according to the results of a new study.