Monday, April 6, 2009

Enzyme search hot as ever to solve food-to-fuel debacle

Biofuel needs to be produced on what is now considered "waste" for me to get excited about it. I've talked about this a few times before.

According to this article, there is promising research being done in this field.

The oily grail is a fungi (or lichen) that will efficiently convert organic cellulose into biofuel. More specifically, in this case, an enzyme produced by a fungi or lichen. If found, any source of cellulose would become fuel fodder -- agricultural waste of all sorts, waste wood, and waste paper.

Competition between two companies, Novozymes and Danisco, is pushing the research and development of this technology. It is encouraging to know that market forces are pushing innovation in the alternative energy sector finally. Money is showing up to bolster this work.

And with money comes the usual shenanigans, including a pretty righteous patent infringement settlement against Danisco.

If biofuel production can be based on simply cellulose (as opposed to the current need for plant sugars), then the options for what crops could provide good fodder for fuel production opens right up, as well. Fast-growing, high-cellulose crops like bamboo become viable at that point. Crops that do just fine in temperate environments.

Enjoy keeping your eye on the ball,


[via my ex-pat Canukistani Uncle, photo credit in linked article]


stock-in-sin said...

although im not technical person in this area..but is nice to read through it

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