New Process Turns Biofuel Waste Into Clean Hydrogen
December 1, 2007 1:35 AM
comment(s) - last by
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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: How this CO2 is different?
12/2/2007 7:40:44 PM
True, and a good point, but that's assuming you use some mix of natural and fossil fuels during this process. The ultimate goal of all this research is to replace as much fossil fuel as possible, eventually we'll have to replace all of it.
If the farm and industrial equipment and delivery vehicles all ran on biofuels, the energy sources for the processing were nuclear or natural, and natural fertilizers/farming methods used, then it would be a carbon neutral process.
Problem is these are all big ifs, and unlikely to happen quickly or soon. This also assumes you can get anywhere near a decent fuel/H2 yield from these crops. If 10% of the biomass actually becomes usable fuel products, by the time you factor in the energy requirements you mentioned you'd be lucky to have 50% of that fuel remaining. But these are first steps, and necessary ones if our quality of life is to be maintained after the finite fossil fuel sources are too scarce to support us.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
Honda Unveils Production FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle
November 15, 2007, 9:41 AM
Biofuels: Salvation or Crimes Against Humanity?
October 29, 2007, 11:23 AM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Most Popular Articles
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information