Bridging the Gap to Biofuels
When it comes to energy, we are all stakeholders – whether we are producers, refiners, developers, educators, policymakers, marketers, regulators, environmentalists, distributors, farmers, foresters, or simply commuters... we are all consumers with a vested interest in future development of renewable energy in concert with environmental sustainability.
Even though there is a growing global recognition that something must be done to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate carbon emissions, the potential for endless debate over the means to these ends is threatened by delays. We need to act now.
The success of any mission to achieve 25x’25 or Twenty in Ten is more dependent on our willingness to communicate and work together than it is on our technical achievements. Why? I am convinced it will take collaboration between all stakeholders to develop and deploy these emerging technologies.
Having attended three important conferences this month, perhaps the most important lesson I can share is one for “bridging the gap” that I learned at 25x’25. When negotiating all parties must take an attitude of “Yes, if...” rather than “No, because...”
For example, “Will you agree...?”:
• “Yes, if you will guarantee...
• “Yes, if you can convince...
• “Yes, if you can match...
• “Yes, if you will commit...
Without the proper spirit of collaboration no compact between stakeholders will be sustainable – even if the technology is.
• Will dead trees revive forest industries?
• Why ethanol from wood makes sense
• The Canadian action plan against the Mountain Pine Beetle
• 25x'25 Summit pressures U.S. Congress to act
• Environmentalists and industrialists meet at the BioEnergy Wiki
• Multi-prong approach enhances energy security
• ACORE wins BIG in Vegas
• So. California Air Quality (AQMD) looks at Cellulosic Ethanol
• BIO World Congress is bio-energized by cellulosic ethanol
• Using fungi to produce ethanol & biodegradeable material
• Producing hydrogen from wastewater and MSW
• Fortune looks at waste source reduction
Each month we provide a similar breakdown of article titles from our favorite "companion" site - Biopact Blog. This list is kept current and is accessible in the right hand column of each of the three blogs.
Please forward a link to this digest to anyone you know who would be interested in keeping track of change that will affect us all. They can add their name to the mailing list on the BioConversion Blog.
March 31, 2007
Bridging the Gap to Biofuels
Biopact has run a story about a Swedish science team whose research into Zygomycetes (an order of more than 100 different fungi) has discovered a saprophyte that grows easily in waste and drainage that converts it into ethanol and can be used to extract an unbelieveably useful super-absorbent and antibacterial cell-wall material that is biodegradeable!
Is it April 1st yet? You might want to look at the source article that appeared in the European Research website. As they report "The bottom line is that this discovery will benefit not only nature, but the paper industry and manufacturers of diapers and feminine hygiene products as well."
Scientists discover fungus to convert biomass into ethanol, and into biodegradable antibacterial and super-absorbent material
A research team at University College of Borås in Sweden, headed by Professor Mohammad Taherzadeh, in collaboration with scientists from Göteborg University has made a unique discovery. It consists of a fungus that converts biomass waste into ethanol in a highly efficient manner. Moreover, from the residual biomass resulting from the ethanol production the researchers were able to extract a powerful antibacterial and super-absorbent material that can be used in the hygiene industry (medical and sanitary napkins, etc...). The material is biodegradable, and promises to solve a significant waste problem.
Being able to convert sulfite lye for the production of ethanol is good news, in both economic and environmental terms. Sulfite lye, which is a byproduct of the production of paper and viscose pulp, is difficult for factories to dispose of since it contains chemicals that must not be casually released in nature. From being a highly undesirable byproduct for the paper industry, sulfite lye will now be an attractive raw material for the extraction of ethanol:
"Today baker's yeast is used for the production of ethanol, but we have found a fungus that is more effective than baker's yeast," says Mohammad Taherzadeh, professor of biotechnology at the School of Engineering, University College of Borås, and one of the world's leading ethanol researchers.
Zygomycetes are not only highly effective in producing ethanol; the research team also found that the biomass that is left over in the production of ethanol can be used to extract a cell-wall material that is super-absorbent and antibacterial. What's more, it's a biological material that can be composted and recycled:
This discovery opens an entirely new dimension for research on the fungi, according to Mohammad Taherzadeh, whose project "Production of antimicrobial super-absorbent from sulfite lye using zygomycetes" was recently awarded more than 800,000 Swedish Crowns (€85,000/US$ 114,000) from the Knowledge Foundation to continue its research into this cell-wall material.
technorati BIOblog, BIOoutput, biofuels, waste, bioenergy, bioproducts