RESEARCH
September 22, 2008

Process makes gas from biomass

Mix the right metals into watered-down sugars from grasses, wood and agricultural waste and you get an organic oil. Mix other catalysts into the oil and you get gasoline, diesel or jet fuel.

The first step of the two-step process turns carbohydrates extracted from cellulosic biomass into a liquid hydrocarbon. The second step turns the precursor hydrocarbon into the desired fuel.

The process is a more versatile alternative to producing ethanol from biomass because it can produce a range of fuels. Gasoline also packs about a third more energy than ethanol.

Research paper:
Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Monofunctional Hydrocarbons and Targeted Liquid-Fuel Classes
Science, published online September 18, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
James A. Dumesic lab

Related stories and briefs:
Biomass-to-biofuel simplified -- related technique
Sugar, sugar -- precursor


Back to ERN September 22/29, 2008

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