|Chemical breakthrough turns sawdust into biofuel|
|Post by Alex Blanc|
|Thursday, 24 July 2008 20:49|
A wider of range of plant material could be turned into biofuels thanks to a breakthrough that converts plant molecules called lignin into liquid hydrocarbons. The reaction reliably and efficiently turns the lignin in waste products such as sawdust into the chemical precursors of ethanol and biodiesel.
In recent years, the twin threats of global warming and oil shortages have led to growth in the production of biofuels for the transportation sector.
But as the human digestive system will attest, breaking down complex plant molecules such as cellulose and lignin is a tricky business.