Getting fuel from fruit…or plastic bags, your pick
The fructose found in fruit such as apples, or oranges can be converted into a new type of low-carbon fuel for cars.
Biofuel engineers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison write in the journal Nature about their process to obtain a product called DMF, which volume for volume delivers 40% more energy than ethanol. In addition, it is not soluble in water and is stable in storage.
Separately, a British report on biofuels says that the technology now exists to create biodiesel fuel not just from palm oil but from a range of materials including wood, weeds and even plastic bags. This process is called biomass to liquid.
This new generation biofuels could offer a tenfold reduction in our carbon footprint and use waste by-products of current manufacturing processes, like the chemical industry.
We should not get too happy yet, because there is still the no small matter of their cost. Setting up new production facilities is estimated to be 10 times higher than for current biofuel refineries.