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  • We all know that it takes a lot of fuel to keep our country running, right? Cars, trucks,

  • planes, trainsWhat if we could develop a homegrown, renewable

  • source for those fuels? Well, good newswe already are!

  • We can create clean, renewable transportation fuels from plants, trees, and a range of other

  • organic materialsin other words, biomass. Okay, so biomass is organic materialfrom

  • forest thinnings and wastesfrom crops grown to produce energyand from other

  • renewable energy sources like algaethat can all be converted into fuels. Scientists

  • and engineers are finding new ways to make biofuels that can take the place of conventional

  • fuels like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Here’s where biofuels have a great advantage:

  • they can be made from leftovers, or waste products. For example, nonedible biomass sources

  • like wheat straw and corn cobs are often left over from agricultural productionand

  • some can actually be used to create fuel. And in the near future, crops can be grown

  • specifically for energy, like fast-growing trees and grasses.

  • Right now, biorefineries with new technologies are being built to convert biomass into fuel,

  • power, and even bioproducts like plastics, soaps, and cosmetics. And many biofuels can

  • be seamlessly integrated into existing vehicles and fueling systems for diesel, gasoline,

  • and even jet engines. So, how does it work? Essentially, biomass

  • solids are broken down and then refined into biofuels. There are lots of ways to do this.

  • Enzymes can be used to break down biomass into liquid sugars. Then, microbes like yeast

  • ferment those sugars into renewable fuel. Extreme heat can break down biomass, too.

  • When you take oxygen out of the mix, biomass is rapidly broken down into a bio-crude oil

  • that can be refined into biofuels. Add a little bit of oxygen to extreme heat,

  • and biomass solids are converted to a gas. And that gas can be converted into biofuel.

  • As technology develops, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy and its national

  • laboratories are working to make more biofuels more efficient. Sustainable biomass resources,

  • more effective enzymes, organisms and catalysts, all help to bring down the costs of producing

  • biofuels. The end result is fuel you can use anywhere

  • or any way that you would use petroleum-based fuel.

  • Homegrown biofuels: clean and renewableand a big step forward for America’s energy

  • security.

We all know that it takes a lot of fuel to keep our country running, right? Cars, trucks,

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B2 biomass biofuels fuel renewable energy converted

Energy 101 | Biofuels

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    Cheng-Hong Liu posted on 2014/11/22
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