Science

New Way To Turn Biofuel Waste To Something Useful

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 21, 2016 05:14 AM EDT
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Environmental management and responsibility is basic for most people now with the damage to the environment growing. Recycling and reusing waste products are some of the ways that people can manage and keep the environment from being damaged. It could turn into a profit as well if people would want to also earn something. Researchers have found a way that can turn biofuel into a product that can also make some profit for those who are interested in it.

EPFL chemists have found that wood when mixed with ordinary formaldehyde into a potential source for biofuel, according to Science Daily. Wood has a biomass element called lignin. Lignin is usually discarded during processing since it is hard for it to be processed. With the addition then of formaldehyde it can be used for a number of things, including petrochemicals.

Lignin is unstable and can easily degrade if extracted. This has prevented it from being used for industrial purposes. Jeremy Luterbacher and other researchers from EPFL has found that by adding formaldehyde with lignin, it becomes stable. This then makes it an ideal substitute for petrochemical products.

For so long people have been relying on fossil fuels. To reduce that, there is a need to find alternatives by looking into plant-derived products, as the EPFL site notes. Producing such products though is still costly, and the same could be said with its promotion and marketing. The new method has promise since it uses a chemical that is cheap and widely available.

"Depending on the wood used we get between 50 and 80 percent," said Luterbacher. The challenge they face now is finding investors to further move the project forward. He has noted that finding investors can be tricky since support for alternative initiatives for fossil fuel has not been constant as well. But he is confident about what they have done so far.

"The technology looks real good," he remarked about the finding. He added that he is optimistic about it, especially since there are some who might be interested in investing on a product that could be an alternative for fossil fuels.

Earlier, it has been reported that researchers have found a way for brewery waste to a more cost-effective material.

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