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Scientists at the University of Leeds have found a way to break biofuel byproduct sludge down into clean components

Biofuel is one form of alternative energy touted as a clean and renewable resource: a great alternative to petroleum fuel. But not everyone agrees. Hydrogen fuel is another popular alternative, as Honda recently demonstrated. Dr. Valerie Dupont and her team at the University of Leeds have come up with a way to make both more appealing -- and more importantly, cost effective.

The often unknown byproduct of biodiesel fuel production is glycerol, a sugar alcohol. While glycerol has many uses from food sweeteners to health care products to explosives, disposing of the low-value crude waste is becoming a problem. The process developed at Leeds turns this waste into clean hydrogen, water and carbon dioxide.

Dupont's separation process involves mixing glycerol with steam at a controlled pressure and temperature. This acts to separate the glycerol into base molecules of hydrogen, water and carbon dioxide, and leaves no other byproducts. The carbon dioxide is filtered out with special absorbent material, leaving the hydrogen and water.

Dupont explains, "Our process is a clean, renewable alternative to conventional methods. It produces something with high value from a low grade by-product for which there are few economical upgrading mechanisms. In addition, it’s a near ‘carbon-neutral’ process, since the CO2 generated is not derived from the use of fossil fuels."

The new process could be another step closer to a hydrogen economy. Creating an infrastructure for such a fuel system would be quite costly, but as more inexpensive methods to create the key element surface, the far-reaching idea is starting to look more plausible.

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RE: How this CO2 is different?
By mdogs444 on 12/1/2007 5:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
Thats exactly my point TomZ....

So basically, all the global warming nuts are blaming CO2 as being the main reason for increase in global temperatures...when in fact, they are blatently saying its not as evidence right here.

What this goes to show is that CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with global warming, if it even exists at all....but this is more of a war against "big oil" - which sounds to me like a personal agenda, not a betterment for all of society.

The whole "we need CO2 from somewhere else but oil" statement, and then trying to convince us that CO2 is in fact different depending on where it comes from, is absolutely ridiculous. Sooner or later, the fear mongers will go down.

RE: How this CO2 is different?
By feelingshorter on 12/2/2007 2:25:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well, this article just happens to to imply that if you read it that way.

What they are saying is that they are turning glycerol into hydrogen, when before, it would have been thrown away. So it is cleaner for the environment in one point of view. I'd rather get hydrogen fuel from it than having it sit in a land fill.

RE: How this CO2 is different?
By Oregonian2 on 12/3/2007 9:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
Why not use it to make sweeteners, health care products, etc as listed as to what it's good for anyway? Not like we'd ever have too much sweeteners.

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