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Biofuels could be top of the tree


A research project in America has shown the potential of second generation biofuels made from trees and grasses.

The study carried out by a team from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Oklahoma produced fuel from ‘short-rotation oak’ with emissions 80% lower compared to fossil fuels.

“The great thing about this project is it addresses full life cycle sustainability questions of new fuel sources before they come up later down the road,” explained Vikas Khanna, the study’s author and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

This is a schematic showing the stages modeled in the biomass-to-fuel life cycle assessment. Credit: Vikas Khanna

“Second-generation biofuels differ from first generation biofuels because they don’t come directly from food crops like corn and soy. They include woody crops, perennial grasses, agricultural and forest residues, and industrial wastes,” added Khanna.

The research was published by The Royal Society of Chemistry journal Energy & Environmental Science.


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