Anaerobic Digesters: Methane Formation

Anaerobic Digesters: Methane Formation. The inter-microbial distances influence the biodegradation rates and specific growth in the formation of Methane. The microorganisms that form methane are physiological. They can grow only with a few specific substrates, such as H2 and CO2, formate, methanol, and acetate, and they, therefore, depend on others. Therefore, a syntrophic relationship is…

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Cellulosic Agricultural Residue

Cellulosic agricultural residue is a broad term used to discuss cellulose based residues left after the harvest of a primary agricultural crop. These include everything that we would traditionally think of, such as corn stover, wheat and rice straws, bean stubbles, and potentially even some cover crops. Additionally, residues can take the form of forestry…

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Stage Gate Approach to Project Management

A stage gate approach (also known as a phase-gate or waterfall approach) is a common project management technique in which a project is divided into phases or stages that are separated by decision making points known as gates).  At each “gate” the decision is made as to whether to stop, move forward with the existing scope, schedule,…

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More Rubber Extraction Refineries Coming?

Are more rubber extraction refineries in our future?  In 2004, the History Channel broadcast a Modern Marvels Special on Natural Rubber. My favorite quote from that special is “Our four most important natural resources are air, water, petroleum, and rubber.” (I would have argued for soil to be part of the list.) Nonetheless, while most…

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Butanol – A Versatile Renewable

Is butanol a versatile renewable? Despite the common myth, biomass upgrading is a challenging science. Not only do the practitioners have to break down the complex biomass mixtures efficiently, but they must also contend with numerous other equally (and often times more) important considerations such as low oil prices (per barrel), process safety, waste streams,…

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Organic Acids: Key Facilitators of the Bio-economy

Organic Acids: Key Facilitators of the Bio-economy? Recent declines in oil prices and the failure of start-up biofuel processes to meet production cost targets have increased the interest in producing value added chemicals from biomass as coproducts. The vision is that these products can leverage the production of fuel by providing revenue to supplement the…

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Early-stage, Breakthrough Technologies: Biofuels, 10 of the Best

The concept of early stage, breakthrough biofuels technologies is a bit of an oxymoron.  At an early stage how does one determine if it something is a “breakthrough” biofuels technology? This article, first published in 2016, is still relevant today. The only way to determine if something is truly a “breakthrough” technology is for experts…

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Isobutanol: A New Product from Revamped Ethanol Plants

Isobutanol: A New Product from Revamped Ethanol Plants? (The following article was written in 2016.  Since the publication date BP and DuPont joint venture, Butamax, has started to produce Isobutanol from the Nesika Energy, LLC  ethanol plant in Kansas.  At 500,000 gallons per year the plant adds to the renewable butanol production from Gevo (rated…

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