Posted tagged ‘greenhouse’


September 10, 2011

biofuel-from-whiskyTill date, all types of alcoholic drinks, or booze as they are commonly called, are produced only with the intention of drinking for socializing, fun, recreation and to drown one’s sorrows.
However the researchers of Abertay’s School of Contemporary Science have found a different and more beneficial use for alcoholic drinks.

The researchers here have been awarded the prestigious Carnegie Trust Research Grant to help them in the investigation of turning the residues that are found in the production of beer and whisky, into a form of renewable biofuel.

This is anticipated to be a project that takes about a year to find new methods of turning the spent grain of these drinks into an efficient biofuel, bioethanol.

Bioethanol is a much more environmentally friendly alternative to the present fossil fuels you find around you.
The reason it is considered better to using bioethanol, instead of traditional fuels for your fueling purposes is that it is CO2 neutral. It is also produces 65% less greenhouse gas emissions because it burns at temperatures that are at a much better level for fire safety.

With the supply of fuel being predicted to be finite, with half of the world’s oil supply already having been consumed in the passed 200 years, scientists are looking for simple and cost effective means of producing more biofuels from low value and waste products. there is a race going on for finding environmentally friendly alternatives to fuels for the future of the world, and this is why spent grains of alcohol and beer manufacture are considered to be a safe and efficient option for this.

Today Brazil and USA together produce over 70% of global supplies through the creation of bioethanol from sugarcane and maize starch respectively.
Though the US has beaten Brazil in its production, Brazil is still the largest exporter that sends about 3.2 billion liters of bioethanol in the last year alone.

Like all things in life, there are some negative aspects to this method of generating fuels. Both these countries tend to create an increased demand for land to grow the energy crops they require for generating bioethanol. In fact, in countries like Brazil, the safety of tropical forests too is threatened where even the benefits of using biofuel too may be cancelled out.

This is why researchers are considering using the waste products received from the manufacture of alcohol for creating biofuels. This may be a more complicated process of turning waste products into bioethanol. However it is a perfect example of a second generation biofuel.

The products used for the creation of this biofuel is usually disposed of or at the most, used for processing animal feed.

Instead of this, using them to produce fuel would be an attractive means of using this resource. However presently, there are many technical challenges and hindrances that have to be overcome to help in converting waste biomass into fuel.

And the search is still on for a more efficient and cost effective process for producing biofuels from alcoholic wastes.


August 23, 2011

01-fuel_cell_technology-polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell-ethanol to hydrogen onboard reformer

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells—also called proton exchange membrane fuel cells—deliver high-power density and offer the advantages of low weight and volume, compared with other fuel cells. PEM fuel cells use a solid polymer as an electrolyte and porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum catalyst. They need only hydrogen, oxygen from the air, and water to operate and do not require corrosive fluids like some fuel cells. They are typically fueled with pure hydrogen supplied from storage tanks or on-board reformers.

PEM Technology:

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Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells operate at relatively low temperatures, around 80°C (176°F). Low-temperature operation allows them to start quickly (less warm-up time) and results in less wear on system components, resulting in better durability. However, it requires that a noble-metal catalyst (typically platinum) be used to separate the hydrogen’s electrons and protons, adding to system cost. The platinum catalyst is also extremely sensitive to CO poisoning, making it necessary to employ an additional reactor to reduce CO in the fuel gas if the hydrogen is derived from an alcohol or hydrocarbon fuel. This also adds cost. Developers are currently exploring platinum/ruthenium catalysts that are more resistant to CO.

PEM Fuel Cell Applications:

PEM fuel cells are used primarily for transportation applications and some stationary applications. Due to their fast startup time, low sensitivity to orientation, and favorable power-to-weight ratio, PEM fuel cells are particularly suitable for use in passenger vehicles, such as cars and buses.

Disadvantages of Fuel Cell:

01-PEM Fuel cell with methanol reformer-CO resistant proton exchange membrane fuel cell system-onboard fuel cell processor-higher density liquid fuels

A significant barrier to using these fuel cells in vehicles is hydrogen storage. Most fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) powered by pure hydrogen must store the hydrogen on-board as a compressed gas in pressurized tanks. Due to the low-energy density of hydrogen, it is difficult to store enough hydrogen on-board to allow vehicles to travel the same distance as gasoline-powered vehicles before refueling, typically 300–400 miles. Higher-density liquid fuels, such as methanol, ethanol, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and gasoline, can be used for fuel, but the vehicles must have an on-board fuel processor to reform the methanol to hydrogen. This requirement increases costs and maintenance. The reformer also releases carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), though less than that emitted from current gasoline-powered engines.