Developing advanced biofuels

In the United States, the Agriculture Secretary is Tom Vilsack. He’s offering money to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels.

‘Advanced biofuels’ means that these fuels are to come from non-food sources. Sources such as algae and waste food. You could scroll down the article I’ve linked to here, for a success story about each of those. It’s not made clear what is used as feed for the algae, and it’s not made clear whether the waste food could have been conserved in some other way. But I’m not jumping to conclusions. Surely these advanced biofuels are better for the land than clearing forest to grow palms and maize that will go straight to biofuel.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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9 Responses to Developing advanced biofuels

  1. Funnily enough in mid-Wales and west-Wales the councils are sending “waste” food to Oxfordshire for anaerobic digestion. It’s a 15 year contract. So, where does that leave any message about trying to reduce the waste in the first place:(
    Nevertheless, in principle, the concept of energy from waste is a good thing, but maybe the focus should be on unavoidable waste rather than careless waste.

    • argylesock says:

      Good point. I think that for many people, ‘doing their bit’ consists only of sending rubbish to destinations other than landfill. There’s even rumour that our carefully conserved paper and cardboard are shipped to China where they’re burned in horribly polluting ways, or chucked into landfill.

      No doubt you’re familiar with The Three R’s http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/rrr.html

  2. Tony says:

    Having heard about such things on Farming Today and FWI, AD technologies are receiving a fair amount of funding right now. From the outside looking in, I would suggest these are a reasonable way forward in dealing with at least, some of the farm waste. I wonder what can be achieved in our own homes.

  3. Pingback: Food security and biofuels | Science on the Land

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