U.S. Dept. of Energy announces new biofuel to replace gasoline

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As for all of the scientific details behind this new process, Diane Pham of Inhabitat writes:

"Non-edible woody plant matter is the focus material for the biofuel endeavor, and scientists have been on the hunt for a cost effective way to break down the cellulose to obtain the soft innards which could be used for fuel. Scientists have now pinpointed a microbe, the Clostridium celluloyticum, able to process the cellulose. The same microbes have also been proven effective in cleaning up polluted sites, powering fuel cells, and even transforming wastewater into bioplastic. The new super microbe is also able to break down plant matter and produce isobutanol in one relatively inexpensive step, as compared to conventional biofuel production which requires a multi-stage process using various microbes that complete different functions."

Chu also noted that the isobutanol process does not have to rely solely on new agriculture. The mocrobes can break down the plant matter from wheat and rice straw, corn stover, and lumber waste. So no chopping down forests to put gas in our tanks necessary.

Chu went on to say:

"America's oil dependence—which leaves hardworking families at the mercy of global oil markets—won't be solved overnight. But the remarkable advance of science and biotechnology in the past decade puts us on the precipice of a revolution in biofuels. In fact, biotechnologies, and the biological sciences that provide the underlying foundation, are some of the most rapidly developing areas in science and technology today – and the United States is leading the way. In the coming years, we can expect dramatic breakthroughs that will allow us to produce the clean energy we need right here at home. We need to act aggressively to seize this opportunity and win the future."

Read the full DOE report here.

Information via CleanTechnica and Inhabitat; photo via

As our gas prices are skyrocketing, here's some good news: The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that their BioEnergy Science Center has created a new biofuel from woody plants that can be used in place of gasoline in conventional cars.

This method of converting woody plants straight into isobutanol is cost effective and will provide an alternative to depending on oil to fuel our vehicles. It will also potentially create many new 'green' jobs in rural parts of the country, as more farmland will be put into production.

"This is a perfect example of the promising opportunity we have to create a major new industry—one based on bio-material such as wheat and rice straw, corn stover, lumber wastes, and plants specifically developed for bio-fuel production that require far less fertilizer and other energy inputs. But we must continue with an aggressive research and development effort," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

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