In a battle to find a new source of fuel to power the increasing number of vehicles in the world, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have just discovered that fructose (simple sugar found in fruit) can be converted into a type of fuel that has many advantages over ethanol.
The fuel is currently called dimethylfuran and it can store up to 40% more energy than ethanol and more importantly it is more stable and does not evaporate as easily as ethanol.
All work is in the preliminary stages of development and studies need to be conducted to examine the environmental impact of this new fuel.
Besides Fruit Juice fuel, the Brits have been busy as well, they have created a new process called biomass to liquid (BTL), a new technology which can create biodiesel fuel from a range of materials including wood, weeds and plastic bags.
It is believed that in six or so years, nearly 30% of Britain’s diesel needs could be met from BTL. Jeremy Tomkinson from the National Non-Food Crops Centre in the UK said the new production methods of biofuels is not necessarily just for cars.
“The impact on society we’re hoping will be far wider than simply ‘we can give you a fuel now with a tenfold reduction in its carbon footprint’.
“Imagine now if chemicals that we use in the chemical industry also came from the same feed stock, the aircraft that we fly to New York in also runs on this? There’s the big potential,” he said.
Of course there are drawbacks, there is currently a massive setup cost involved with establishing production centres, (nearly 10x the cost compared to conventional means) to produce biofuel via alternative ways, fortunately though, unlike fossil fuel, money is not going to run out!
The future is looking greener everyday.