Waste Not, Want Not
Purdue University chemical engineers have proposed an environmentally friendly process for producing liquid fuels from biomass that comes from agricultural and forest waste. They say it will provide all the fuel needed for the entire U.S. transportation sector. The new approach modifies conventional methods for producing liquid fuels from biomass by adding hydrogen from a carbon-free energy source, such as solar or nuclear power, during a step called gasification. Adding hydrogen during this step suppresses the formation of carbon dioxide and increases the efficiency of the process, making it possible to produce three times the volume of biofuels from the same quantity of biomass. The researchers are calling their approach a hybrid hydrogen-carbon process or H2CAR.