Tag Archives: biofuels

How Hemp (Cannabis) Could Be Used As A Biofuel


Biodiesel can be produced from a great variety of feedstocks but the choice for the best one depends largely on economics, geography and climate . According to The Guardian , hemp can be used to create biodiesel and bioethanol. Contrary to Popular Belief, Hemp Oil Products Are Not Marijuana.

For Biocarburanti.org , while cannabis and hemp both come from the same species, hemp contains negligible amounts of THC (the chemical that makes the marihuana plant a potent drug). Therefore, handling it, eating it or inhaling the gasses or smoke from it will not intoxicate you in any way. Although, if you eat it, you may feel full.

hemp chart biodiesel
Credit: Sites.psu.edu

The product is environmentally friendlier to produce compared to corn, palm oil or sugar beet. Hemp biodiesel is biodegradable therefore it will not contribute to environmental destruction.A major advantage of hemp is that it can grow in a wide range of climatic conditions, while leaving the soils around it in a better condition than when it was first planted.

Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel has shown a high efficiency of conversion (97 percent) and has passed laboratory’s tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market. Continue reading How Hemp (Cannabis) Could Be Used As A Biofuel

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In Oman bacteria-induced biofuel is getting patented


Muscat,Oman Sultanate: Mohab bin Ali Al-Hinai, assistant professor in the biology department of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), has obtained a patent for his research on bacteria that contributes to the production of biofuels.

Al-Hinai said the idea of producing biofuels by bacteria was a development of ‘acetobutylicum clostridium’ bacteria which is the fastest in its group in the production of organic materials usable as biofuels, according to Oman News Agency.

He added that the significance of the said bacteria is that it produces biofuels from plants that contain fiber and not from components of staple foods for human consumption such as maize, wheat, and sugarcane.

He affirmed that the most significant challenges are to find a way to make this invention economically feasible. He added that he is currently working on the development of research on biofuels from agricultural waste and the smallest organisms found in the Omani environment.

  • Why Bacteria-based biofuels?

By tweaking the smallest units of life, scientists are making bigger gains in producing alternative and renewable energy, with recent efforts aimed at molecule-level controls and promoting fractal growth patterns to create different fuels and improve efficiencies.

Bacteria, which range from 0.5 to 5 microns in size, perform functions that can be exploited, enhanced and modified to produce fuels. As they move, breathe, eat and reproduce, bacteria produce byproducts like ethanol and hydrogen while feeding on simple sugars, starches and sunlight. The cells themselves can also be harvested for biodiesel precursors.

The organisms may be used to produce fuels directly from biomass, including cellulosic biomass.  When all of the steps of digestion and fermentation are combined, it is called consolidated bioprocessing.  The organisms available for consolidated bioprocessing to produce cellulosic ethanol do not produce high concentrations of the ethanol, and therefore it isn’t cost effective to use them according to Biofuels Digest.

Even, back now in 2012, researchers genetically modified E. coli bacteria to convert sugar into an oil that is almost identical to conventional diesel.

While petrol and diesel release carbon dioxide that has been stored deep within the Earth, biofuels are said to be carbon neutral because they release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as the plants they are made from absorbed.

However, the energy it takes to grow and process the crops needed for biofuels also should be taken into account, as this adds to their “carbon footprint”.

A report by Chatham House said biofuels were expensive and worse for the climate than fossil fuels.

  • Sources: Oman News Agency, Biofuels Digest, CHatman House, Pnas.org