Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What Does The Future Hold For Biofuels?

Date:
February 20, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
High oil prices, energy security considerations and fears about global warming have helped revive interest in renewable energy sources like biofuels. But there are a few catches. For example, the more corn is used in ethanol production, the less is available for food. Can these limitations be overcome to make biofuels a significant part of the US energy supply?

High oil prices, energy security considerations and fears about global warming have helped revive interest in renewable energy sources like biofuels, which burn cleanly and can be produced from plants.

But there are a few catches, particularly regarding biofuels like corn-based ethanol: the more corn is used in ethanol production, the less is available for food--a reality that partly accounts for the recent run-up in world food prices. Moreover, most of the 6 billion gallons of ethanol produced annually in the United States comes from corn, but there's not enough corn available to make it a viable long-term source.

MIT Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos will lead a discussion of the various ways scientists and energy policymakers are seeking to overcome these limitations and make biofuels from renewable biomass feedstocks a significant part of the U.S. energy supply during a symposium on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston in a symposium entitled "Biomass to Biofuels Conversion: Technical and Policy Perspectives."

Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering, will discuss his own research, which involves bioengineering yeast. He and colleagues have developed a new way to engineer the genome of yeast to produce desirable traits--specifically, the ability to tolerate high levels of ethanol, which is normally toxic to yeast. The technique holds promise for the development of other traits that would make yeast more-efficient ethanol producers.

He will also touch on other lines of biofuel research, including using plant materials to produce ethanol. To replace corn, scientists are turning to cellulose found in grasses and agricultural wastes.

"The technology to produce cellulosic ethanol is not there yet," Stephanopoulos said. However, he estimates that large-scale, economically feasible production of ethanol from cellulose could happen within 10 years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "What Does The Future Hold For Biofuels?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080216142159.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2008, February 20). What Does The Future Hold For Biofuels?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080216142159.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "What Does The Future Hold For Biofuels?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080216142159.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins