Going Green

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Advanced Biofuels Research

This article from The Economist on advanced biofuels research is very interesting.

Advanced biofuels

Ethanol, schmethanol

Sep 27th 2007 EMERYVILLE, REDWOOD CITY AND SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIAFrom The Economist print edition

SOMETIMES you do things simply because you know how to. People have known how to make ethanol since the dawn of civilisation, if not before. Take some sugary liquid. Add yeast. Wait. They have also known for a thousand years how to get that ethanol out of the formerly sugary liquid and into a more or less pure form. You heat it up, catch the vapour that emanates, and cool that vapour down until it liquefies.

The result burns. And when Henry Ford was experimenting with car engines a century ago, he tried ethanol out as a fuel. But he rejected it—and for good reason. The amount of heat you get from burning a litre of ethanol is a third less than that from a litre of petrol. What is more, it absorbs water from the atmosphere. Unless it is mixed with some other fuel, such as petrol, the result...(complete article here).

I've contended all along that ethanol isn't the answer -- maybe for different reasons -- but it's good to know I'm not alone.

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