?Main Image: A June 2010 photo shows raceway ponds in Southern California was taken by the QuickBird satellite. A PNNL study shows that 17 percent of the United States’...
Ethanol Biofuels in the United StatesLast Updated on 2011-06-16 00:00:00
Biofuels are a major source of renewable energy in the United States. Ethanol produced from corn starch accounts for 90% of the biofuels consumed, but only 5% of all light-duty motor transportation fuel consumption. Ethanol is blended with gasoline to increase octane and reduce emissions, and used as a substitute for gasoline to reduce consumption of petroleum-based fuels. Ethanol has the potential to provide many benefits. As an alternative to gasoline refined from imported oil, its use can improve U.S. national energy security, albeit marginally. Although the exact magnitude is subject to debate, ethanol is thought by many to produce lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared with gasoline. For this reason, its increased use is seen by many as playing a potential key role in reducing the contribution of the transportation sector to global climate change. U.S.-produced... More »
Algae Might Replace Some U.S. Oil ImportsLast Updated on 2011-04-13 00:00:00?Main Image: A June 2010 photo shows raceway ponds in Southern California was taken by the QuickBird satellite. A PNNL study shows that 17 percent of the United States’ imported oil for transportation could be replaced by biofuel made from algae grown in outdoor raceway ponds located in the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes. Credit: PNNL.
Study: Algae could replace
17% of U.S. oil imports
Choosing optimal growing locations limits algal biofuel’s water use
High oil prices and environmental and economic security concerns have triggered interest in using algae-derived oils as an alternative to fossil fuels. But growing algae — or any other biofuel source — can require a lot of water.
However, a new study shows that being smart about where we grow algae can drastically reduce how much water is needed for algal biofuel. Growing... More »
Molten Rock as a Source of High-Grade EnergyLast Updated on 2011-02-16 00:00:00
Iceland Volcano's Molten Rock Could
Become Source of High-Grade Energy
Krafla volcano gives geologists unique, unexpected opportunity to study magma
Geologists drilling an exploratory geothermal well in 2009 in the Krafla volcano in Iceland met with a big surprise: underground lava, also called magma, flowed into the well at 2.1 kilometers (6,900 feet) depth. It forced the scientists to stop drilling.
"To the best of our knowledge, only one previous instance has been documented of magma flowing into a geothermal well while drilling," said Wilfred Elders, a geologist at the University of California, Riverside, who led the research team.
Elders and his team studied the well within the Krafla caldera as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, an industry-government consortium, to test whether geothermal fluids at supercritical pressures and... More »
Fuels From an Ancient CropLast Updated on 2011-02-10 00:00:00
?Main Image: Chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng (right) and mechanical engineer Neil Goldberg (center) adjust pyrolysis process conditions while chemist Charles Mullen (left) loads the reactor with bioenergy feedstock. Source: USDA.
New Fuels From an Ancient Crop
Barley has been cultivated for thousands of years, yet it doesn’t always make the list when energy experts discuss potential biofuel crops. And bio-oil—a liquid fuel generated when heat breaks down plant matter—is still a low-profile energy alternative. But research by Agricultural Research Service scientists at the Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, could give a big boost to producing bio-oil from barley feedstocks.
As a renewable transportation fuel, bio-oil made from barley byproducts—or any other biofeedstock—has several advantages. The fuel... More »
Compatibility: Biofuels and Existing Transportation InfrastructureLast Updated on 2011-02-09 00:00:00
But Are They Compatible?
New biofuels must be compatible with
America's existing transportation infrastructure.
The ultimate goal of ORNL's BioEnergy Science Center is, naturally, to produce biofuel—but not just any biofuel. To achieve the center's goal of helping to reverse the nation's dependence on oil imports, a successful biofuel will need to be a stepping stone that fits neatly into America's current fuel infrastructure as part of a path to a transportation system that rests far less heavily on petroleum products.
The research performed by Distinguished Scientist Bruce Bunting and his colleagues at ORNL's Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center (FEERC) focuses on ensuring that new biofuels meet both requirements. The research, funded in large measure by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable... More »
Drag and drop the content to change the order of featured content. The top nine will be displayed.