micro_pic_1.jpg
http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/Bacteria-Pitted-Against-Microbes-in-Biofuel-Race-2.jpg/

Biofueling Our World

By: Megan Gilbert

May 17, 2011

 



Abstract:
Biomass covers approximately 10 percent of the world’s primary energy demand and plant biomass is a very abundant and renewable source of energy-rich carbohydrates that have the potential to be converted into biofuels by microbes. Microbial made biofuels have the potential to replace current fuels and help avert our fast approaching energy crisis. Instead of continuing to deplete our oil supply, we could instead use non-crop foods, algae, microbes, and waste biomass to produce a new form of biofuel that would be almost endlessly renewable. As time goes on and we use more and more oil, the need for an alternative energy source will escalate higher and higher. If we don’t start looking for ways to find a more sustainable fuel source, we will eventually run out all together. This Wikipage discusses biofuels and the potential that plant biomass has as well as other alternative ways of creating biofuel, to be converted into biofuels as well as how they may be able to save us from a fast approaching energy crisis.
http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/biogas/
http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/biogas/

http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/
http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/












Introduction:

The use of microbes to help create new forms of biofuels could potentially change our world as we know it. In particular, plant biomass is a very available and renewable source that could potentially be converted into biofuels by the use of microbes. Items such as non-crop foods, algae, microbes, sewage, animal residues and others could be used to create new forms of biofuel as is seen in the picture.
I chose to study biofuels and a few different ways in which they can be created as a possible solution to our limited supply of oil and other such forms of energy, because I believe it to be a very fast approaching problem for our future generations. Studying these methods and biofuels has made me realize that there are many other options out there for us regarding energy and if we would just spend a little more time researching them, we may help not only ourselves, but also our planet.
Biomass is a very strong potential solution to our energy problems. Also, biodiesel is made up of fatty acids from vegetable oil—instead of using vegetable oil, microalgae could be grown for the production of suitable oil (Keasling, 2008). In addition, not only would using plant biomass to help create an alternative energy source help us, but it would also help the planet. Disposing of biological wastes decreases the amount of the amount of carbon and methane released into the atmosphere. Using biomass could not only reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but also take action on climate change as well as give us a form of cleaner energy (Munro, 2010).Also, I have found advanced fuels that secrete the oil without being destroyed to be a very interesting topic and a possible even better alternative as a replacement of oil. Using gene therapy and recombinant DNA would allow us to genetically alter the genes in certain plants to secrete the oil we need without destroying the actual plant (Harris 2009).

http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/ There are so many different options for sources of biomass.
http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/ There are so many different options for sources of biomass.


Biomass in Plants could be a solution:
http://thesecondgreenrevolution.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html
http://thesecondgreenrevolution.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html


http://thesecondgreenrevolution.blogspot.com/2010/03/biofuel-from-ge-poplar-trees.html
http://thesecondgreenrevolution.blogspot.com/2010/03/biofuel-from-ge-poplar-trees.html

Cellulose is the most common organic compound found on Earth and has a very good potential to be a renewable source of energy. Using plants and biomass as a source of energy would allow us to create endless amounts of potential biofuel, which could then be distributed and used for cars, etx. The only problem, however is that it is very difficult to access the polymers present in the plants that would be needed to convert them into fuels (Binder, 2010).










Advanced Biofuels:
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/feedstocks_sustainable_production.html
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/feedstocks_sustainable_production.html

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Biofuels could lead to a brighter, cleaner energy future for our world. First generation biofuels such as wheat, corn, or sugar reduce CO2 emissions by up to 65 percent, but have not really been accepted by people to be used as biofuels. Then there was the idea of second generation fuels that depend upon the extraction of fuel from the crops and their non-food parts, along with other crops that were not used for food. Even a third idea came up that was a process in which algae was farmed for it's fuel content. However, currently scientists and researches are searching for fuels that are economical, are renewable, and in no way harm the food chain; this is thought to be the fourth generation fuels, also known as advanced fuels. In these fourth generation fuels, genes are modified to produce fuel (which they secrete) rather than being killed or destroyed--they are considered the "living factories". There are two main categories of advanced biofuels--advanced feedstocks (cellulostics) and new fuels (not ethanol, methyl ester biodiesels). These fuels would be able to potentially replace the fuels we currently use.This process of modifying genes in the plants starts with the identification of microbes in the fuels that are to be created--then a plant to make that compound is found. The genes are taken from the plants and the gene sequence is synthesized and inserted into a microbe. The fuel that is then produced naturally leaves the microbe through it's cell wall and into what you wanted it to go into. The oil from the microbes (that they produce) separates, but to keep this happening, the microbes would need a continuing source of sugar that is fermentable (Harris 2009).










Algae Farming Is Another Option:

In Algae farming, one grows the algae, then harvests it and the lipids then the whole process begins once again. The genomes of several algae have been tweaked in ways that allow them to secrete carbon and the microbes are able to be "milked" for the carbon and re-used, rather than having to create more each and every time.The algae secrete carbon-8 and carbon-10s into a medium and move it constantly, which allows them to continuously be used. However, the genetic engineering of algae requires the use of bio-reactors or contained systems in order to prevent the algae from getting into the environment. They can either be contained through physical means in a closed system or through biological means by altering their genomes in certain ways that make it impossible for them to survive outside the reactor environment (Harris 2009).

bio.jpg
http://solar.calfinder.com/blog/news/what-in-the-world-is-algae-farming/


bio_2.jpg
http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/biofuel/review7.php



















More Biomass and Biofuels Technology
http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/
http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/


http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/
http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/



As seen in the picture above of the machine known as "Ecoremedy", we are already making a lot of progress towards technology that takes biomass waste and through a process that gasifies biomass waste at temperatures of up to 2,400 degrees F. The result ends up being smokeless, low dioxin and odorless steam emissions that have the potential ability to run turbines in renewable energy plants that would be able to used for small industrial consumers or even larger green power plants. Currently, this technology by a group known as Enguinity Energy has completed a successful test run and test machine in Georgia at a Tyson Foods feed mill (Munro, 2010).Not only are machines like this one a bright outlook for our future, but also the positives that would come from using biomass as an energy source. If our country or even planet began to use biomass, we would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15.2 million tons on a yearly basis (Munro, 2010). Another idea for the future of biofuels is technology for aviation.



Literature Cited:
Binder, Joseph B., and Ronald T. Raines. "Fermentable Sugars by Chemical Hydrolysis of Biomass." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 5 Jan. 2010. Web. 17 May 2011. http://www.pnas.org/content/107/10/4516.full?sid=cefcaa8d-6c76-45f8-9b54-b2835e582e87.

Harris, Anne. "Milking the microbes." Engineering & Technology (17509637) 4.5 (2009): 48-51. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2011.

Keasling, Jay D. et al. "Importance of systems biology in engineering microbes for biofuel production." Current Opinion in Biotechnology 19.3 (2008).

Knowles, Barbara. "New approach to biofuels." Biologist 57.2 (2010): 62. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2011

Munro, Edward. "Raising the Profile on Biomass Energy." The Urban Times. 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 17 May 2011. http://www.theurbn.com/2010/08/raising-profile-biomass-energy/.

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