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Biofuels Without the Blend

Biofuels Without the Blend

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Published by: GeoMircean on Apr 20, 2011
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Biofuels without the blend

25 February 2010

Scientists in the US have come up with a method to recycle agricultural waste into renewable alkenes for jet and diesel fuel. The breakthrough opens the door to biofuels that do not rely on special farms and that can directly replace their petroleum counterparts. Biofuels have long been considered a promising means to reduce our dependence on oil, but traditional candidates have faced several problems. Ethanol, for instance, can be oxygenated for use in combustion engines, but only as a blend where the other 90 per cent is petrol. It is also of little use to aeroplanes, since it has such a low energy density. Finally, there is the issue of where the ethanol comes from: typically vast corn fields, which often require huge areas of deforestation. In light of this, many researchers have been considering ways of making 'second generation' biofuels from the woody, non-edible parts of biomass, such as sugar-cane pulp, which would otherwise go to waste. Already this biomass can be used to produce gamma-valerolactone (GVL), an organic compound that can be blended in small amounts with petrol or diesel. GVL's value can be improved once it is reduced with hydrogen, but the process is not that efficient and it still needs an added 30 per cent petrol to make it a viable fuel. Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, have found a way to convert GVL into a fuel that requires no blending at all. They have developed a strategy 'by which GVL is converted to compounds with high energy density - alkenes in the molecular weight range appropriate for jet fuel,' say James Dumesic and Jesse Bond, two of the paper's authors. 'Because of its high energy density, such a product could replace hydrocarbon fuels without blending limits and be utilised for applications such as jet fuel where more traditional biofuels fall short.' GVL is a cyclic ester that contains two oxygen atoms, which need to be removed to make an energy-dense fuel. The Wisconsin group begin by using a solid-acid catalyst to split the ester ring into a long chain. They then use another solid-acid catalyst to break off the carbon bonded to the two oxygens, leaving butene and carbon dioxide. While the carbon dioxide can be easily collected for sequestration, the butene can be put through a standard process to couple into large alkenes as a high energy-density liquid. George Huber, an expert in biofuels at the University of Massachusetts, US, calls it 'a The process the team used to generate fuel from GVL very exciting discovery'. 'The process also is © Science likely to be very economical because it doesn't use hydrogen or [precious] metals,' he added. 'This paper shows the power of catalysis and chemical engineering in solving our energy challenges.' The question now remains as to who will push for mass production of GVL from agricultural waste. 'Until now, there has been no driving force for mass production of GVL,' say Dumesic and Bond, adding: 'As the availability of inexpensive GVL increases, we expect this technology to expand accordingly.' Jon Cartwright

George Huber. “Pana acum nu a existat o forta de producere in masa de GVL”.org/chemistryworld/News/2010/February/25021004. Descoperirea deschide usa pentru biocombustibili care nu se bazeaza pe ferme speciale si care pot inlocui direct omologii lor pe baza de petrol. Deja aceasta biomasa poate fi folosita sa produca gama-valerolactona (GVL). butena poate fi supusa unui procedeu standard pentru a se cupla in alchene mari ca un lichid cu putere calorica mare. ce trebuie indepartati pentru a face un combustibil ce are putere calorica mare. Cat tiimp dioxidul de carbon poate fi usor colectat pentru sechestrare. Pentru a trece peste aceasta problema. un astfel de produs poate iinllocui hidrocarburile fara a fi nevoie de amestecuri si are o aplicabilitate mult mai mare decat biocombustibilii traditionali”. “Procedeul este foarte probabil sa fie si foarte economic deoarece nu foloseste hidrogen sau metale pretioase”. multi cercetatori au cautat cai de a face biocobustibili de “a doua generatie” din partile lemnoase. GVL este uun ester cyclic ce contine doi atomi de oxigen. SUA. doi din autorii lucrarii. spun Dumesic si Bond. au gasit o metoda de a converti GVL intr-un combustibil ce nu are nevoie de amestecul de petrol. Etanolul de exemplu poate fi oxigenat pentru a fi folosit in motoarele cu combustie dar doar ca amestec unde restul de 90% este petrol.asp) . Ei au dezvoltat o strategie “prin care GVL este transformat in compusi ce dau energie foarte mare – masa moleculara in alchene ajunge in apropierea celei a combustibililor pentru avoanele cu turboreactie” spun James Dumesic si Jesse Bond. dar procesul nu este atat de eficient si mai are nevoie de inca 30% adaos de petrol pentru a il face un combustibil viabil. Grupul din Wisconsin a inceput prin utilizarea unui catalizator solid si acid pentru a rupe inelul esterului intr-un lant lung. cum ar fi pulpa de trestie de zahar.” John Cartwright Articol preluat de pe site-ul: Royal Society of Chemestry (http://www. Intrebarea ce ramane acum este cum vor impinge productia in masa de GVL din deseurile agricole. Biocombustibilii au fost considerati de multa vreme ca un mijloc promitator pentru a reduce dependenta noastra de petrol dar candidatii traditionali s-au lovit de diverse probleme.Biocombustibili ce nu au nevoie in componenta de petrol 25 februarie 2010 Oamenii de stiinta din SUA au gasit o metoda pentru a recicla deseurile agricole in alchene reinnoibile pentru avioanele cu turboreactor sau pentru motoarele diesel. ne asteptam ca aceasta tehnologie sa se extinda. “Aceasta lucrare arata puterea catalizei si ingineriei chimice in salvarea problemelor noastre energetice”. “Deoarece are acesti compusi capabili sa elibereze foarte multa energie. un expert in biocombustibili la Universitatea din Massachusetts.rsc. o numeste “o descoperire foarte captivanta”. necomestibile de biomasa. In cele din urma exista si problema provenientei etanolului: deobicei din terenuri vaste cu culturi de porumb care deseori cer despadurirea unor zone foarte mari. un compus organic ce poate fi amestecata in cantitati mici cu petrol si diesel. cercetatorii la Universitatea Wisconsin-Madison. Apoi folosesc alt catalizator solid-acid pentru a rupe atomii de carbon legati de cei doi atomi de oxigen obtinand astfel butena si dioxid de carbon. De asemenea se foloseste foarte putin la avioane deoarece da foarte putina energie. care altfel ar fi aruncata. adaugand: “Datorita faptului ca disponibilitatea de GVL ieftin creste. Valoarea GVL poate fi imbunatatita odata ce este redusa cu hidrogen. adauga el. Acum. SUA.

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