Category Archives: BIOFUELS

The Benefits and Deficiencies of Biofuels

Introduction Biofuels are energy sources derived from biological materials and are therefore renewable and sustainable, and can go some distance in replacing fossil fuels and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Their biological nature separates them from other renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar power. Biofuels can be solid, liquid and gaseous and can be used to generate electricity […]

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Carbon capture and storage

In order to sequester carbon dioxide it first has to be extracted from the flue gases of power stations, cement works and refineries in a process known as ‘carbon capture and storage’. Carbon dioxide capture requires a relatively pure carbon dioxide stream for transport and storage. In some cases the carbon dioxide needs to be compressed, as mineral carbonization requires […]

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Hydrogen

Hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table, a colourless, odourless gas which is the most plentiful element in the universe. Hydrogen has been used extensively in the chemical industry in the manufacture of ammonia, methanol, petrol, heating oil, fertilizers, vitamins, cosmetics, lubricants, cleaners, margarine and as a rocket fuel. Hydrogen has been put forward as a new energy […]

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Synthetic Diesel, FT Synthesis

The Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis was developed in the 1930s, by which a gas con­taining carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) can be converted into long-chain hydrocarbons which have properties similar to crude oil products. A gas containing as its main components H2 and CO can be produced by the high-temperature gasification of coal, biomass and waste, and is known as […]

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European biofuel supplies

The International Energy Agency predicts that the world’s energy consumption will increase by 1.7% per annum (IEA, 2005a). If this is applied to the UK’s transport fuel, the UK would require 63,000,000 t of liquid fuels by 2010 and 67,402,000 t by 2020. However, a recent report forecast that the total use of fuel in the EU 25 (JRC, 2007) […]

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Methanol

Methanol (CH3OH) is a simple alcohol commonly known as ‘wood alcohol’. It is a toxic, colourless, tasteless liquid with a faint odour which can be used in a spark ignition engine. Its characteristics are given in Table 6.2, where it is compared with petrol. Methanol contains considerably less energy than petrol but the high octane rating gives more power and […]

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Transesterification

Biodiesel is a replacement for diesel and is produced by reacting plant oils and animal fats with an alcohol to form a mixture of fatty acid esters in a reaction known as transesterification. Biodiesel is available commercially and should be regarded as a first-generation biofuel. The idea of splitting the triglycerides in fats and oils and using the resulting esters […]

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Hydrogen production in microalgae

One of the sustainable methods of producing hydrogen is to use anaerobic photosyn­thetic bacteria which use light and organic acids to produce hydrogen. However, yields of hydrogen are low and are only produced under stress conditions, so that genetic manipulation may be able to increase yields without using stress conditions.

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