August 11, 2008

Biomass-to-biofuel simplified

The main challenge to using cellulosic biomass -- agricultural waste, wood, etc. -- to make biofuels is coming up with efficient ways to break down cellulose. A new approach sidesteps the problem and converts cellulose directly to a biofuel precursor.

The simple chemical process yields 5-chloromethylfurfural, which can be mixed with ethanol or hydrogen to produce biofuels.

Research paper:
Direct, High-Yield Conversion of Cellulose into Biofuel
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, published online August 1, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Mark Mascal
Bioenergy Research Group, UC Davis

Related stories and briefs:
Sugar, sugar -- a previous furanic biofuel process

Back to ERN August 11/18, 2008



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