Published in Chemistry World, 25 Feb 2010
Scientists in the US have come up with a method to recycle agricultural waste into renewable alkenes for jet and diesel fuel. The breakthrough opens the door to biofuels that do not rely on special farms and that can directly replace their petroleum counterparts.
Biofuels have long been considered a promising means to reduce our dependence on oil, but traditional candidates have faced several problems. Ethanol, for instance, can be oxygenated for use in combustion engines, but only as a blend where the other 90 per cent is petrol. It is also of little use to aeroplanes, since it has such a low energy density. Finally, there is the issue of where the ethanol comes from: typically vast corn fields, which often require huge areas of deforestation. […]
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