Tuesday, May 06, 2008

biofuels from waste materials

As the hype around farmed biofuels (such as corn ethanol) turns to autocombustion, it is important to remember that there is another way, namely to make biofuels from agricultural waste materials. As these materials will be of different nature in different climate zones, many different approaches are needed around the globe.

In Cuba, for instance, the major agricultural waste is bagasse from sugar cane. Researchers are developing ways of "cracking" cellulose in the bagasse in order to produce bioethanol. A recent paper from the university of Matanzas has looked at the best way of doing this pretreatment:

Martín, C., Marcet, M., and Thomsen, A. B. (2008). "Comparison between wet oxidation and steam explosion as pretreatment methods for enyzmatic hydrolysis of sugarcane bagasse," BioRes. 3(3), 670-683.

The full text of the paper should soon appear in BioResources.

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