Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study paves way for new biofuels models, technologies

Date:
May 10, 2010
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Biofuels hold promise as environmentally friendly sources of renewable energy, but which ones should industry and policy leaders focus their efforts on developing? A new study offers detailed insights into how biofuel chemicals react when burned. The research data and new computer models pave the way for development of new biofuels and technologies to maximize energy efficiency while minimizing environmental and human health risks.

Biofuels hold promise as environmentally friendly sources of renewable energy, but which ones should industry and policy leaders focus their efforts on developing? A new study involving researchers from North Carolina State University offers detailed insights into how biofuel chemicals react when burned. Their data and new computer models pave the way for development of new biofuels and technologies to maximize energy efficiency while minimizing environmental and human health risks.

"Biofuels are a sensible choice as a renewable energy source, but of course there are complications," says Dr. Phillip Westmoreland, a co-author of the study, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of the Institute for Computational Science and Engineering at NC State. "All of the biofuels have pros and cons, and you can't manage or plan for use and risks unless you understand them enough."

The new paper helps define these risks by finding the network of chemical steps that take place when biofuels are burned. An invited overview for Angewandte Chemie, one of the world's premier chemistry journals, the paper draws on landmark research conducted by Westmoreland and his co-authors from research institutions in the United States, Germany and China.

"By studying individual chemicals that make up biofuels, we were able to explain what emissions result from burning real biofuels," Westmoreland says. "We can measure the individual intermediates and chemical reactions, helping us craft models that reveal what chemicals are emitted, and in what amounts, by various biofuels. These models can be used to design new engines, new fuels and new policies that foster environmentally sustainable and efficient energy solutions.

"This is important for regulation, where policy makers are weighing the environmental and health costs versus the energy benefits of different biofuels, but it is also essential to decision makers in the business community. Industry does not want to invest in developing biofuels and related technologies that can't pass policy muster, and this research will help them make educated investment decisions."

The paper draws on information the researchers have collected about the chemicals produced when biofuels are burned, and how those chemicals change during the combustion process. These insights stem from the use of a novel experimental apparatus the researchers built at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a second system in Hefei, China -- which provide unprecedented detail as to exactly what is happening at a molecular level when biofuels are burned.

The paper, "Biofuel combustion chemistry: from ethanol to biodiesel," is the featured cover article in the May 3 issue of Angewandte Chemie. The paper was co-authored by researchers from NC State, Bielefeld University in Germany, Cornell University, Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Science and Technology of China and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Research Office, and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, among others.

NC State's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is part of the university's College of Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katharina Kohse-Hφinghaus, Patrick Oίwald, Terrill A. Cool, Tina Kasper, Nils Hansen, Fei Qi, Charles K. Westbrook, Phillip R. Westmoreland. Biofuel Combustion Chemistry: From Ethanol to Biodiesel. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/anie.200905335

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Study paves way for new biofuels models, technologies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510105132.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2010, May 10). Study paves way for new biofuels models, technologies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510105132.htm
North Carolina State University. "Study paves way for new biofuels models, technologies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510105132.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) — Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) — Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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