Navigation Links
U of M researchers invent 'flashy' new process to turn soy oil, glucose into hydrogen

Anyone who's overheated vegetable oil or sweet syrup knows that neither oil nor sugar evaporates--oil smokes and turns brown, sugar turns black, and both leave a nasty film of carbon on the cookware. Now, a University of Minnesota team has invented a "reactive flash volatilization process" that heats oil and sugar about a million times faster than you can in your kitchen and produces hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a mixture called synthesis gas, or syngas, because it is used to make chemicals and fuels, including gasoline. The new process works 10 to 100 times faster than current technology, with no input of fossil fuels and in reactors at least 10 times smaller than current models. The work could significantly improve the efficiency of fuel production from renewable energy sources. It will be published Nov. 3 in Science.

"It's a way to take cheap, worthless biomass and turn it into useful fuels and chemicals," said team leader Lanny Schmidt, a Regents Professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the university. "Potentially, the biomass could be used cooking oil or even products from cow manure, yard clippings, cornstalks or trees."

One up-and-coming fuel is biodiesel, which is produced from soy oil. Currently, the key step in conversion of the oil to biodiesel requires the addition of methanol, a fossil fuel. The new process skips the biodiesel step and turns oil straight into hydrogen and carbon monoxide gases by heating it to about 1,000 degrees C. About 70 percent of the hydrogen in the oil is converted to hydrogen gas. Similarly, using a nearly saturated solution of glucose in water, the process heats the sugar so fast that it, too, breaks up into syngas instead of its usual products: carbon and water.

A difficulty in turning plant material into usable fuels has been breaking down the chemical bonds in cellulose--the material that gives plant cell walls their stiffness--to liberate simple sugars that can be fermented into ethanol or turned into other fuels. That requires special enzymes and lots of time. But the high heat of the new process breaks those bonds with ease, meaning cellulose and similar plant materials can possibly be used as feedstocks.

Schmidt and his university colleagues--graduate students James Salge, Brady Dreyer and Paul Dauenhauer--have produced a pound of synthesis gas in a day using their small-scale reactor.

Here's how the new process works: The oil and sugar water are sprayed as fine droplets from an automotive fuel injector through a tube onto a ceramic disk made of a catalyst material--the elements rhodium and cerium--that guides the breakup of the feedstock molecules toward the production of syngas and away from water and carbon "gunk." Because the catalytic disk is porous, the syngas passes through it and is collected downstream in the tube. No external heat is needed, because the chemical reactions that produce syngas release enough heat to break up subsequent molecules of oil or sugar.

"The secret is ultrafast flash volatilization [vaporization]," said Schmidt. "It happens here because we vaporize the fuel and mix it with oxygen before it sees the catalyst so it doesn't burn to char. This is potentially 100 times faster than what is currently available to make syngas and hydrogen."

Schmidt gained national attention in February 2004, when a team he headed invented a similar apparatus to produce hydrogen from ethanol.


'"/>

Source:University of Minnesota


Related biology news :

1. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
2. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
3. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
4. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
5. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
6. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
7. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
8. Agilent Technologies releases automated literature search tool for biology researchers
9. Self-assembled nano-sized probes allow Penn researchers to see tumors through flesh and skin
10. Yale researchers identify molecule for detecting parasitic infection in humans
11. US life expectancy about to decline, researchers say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/2/2017)... -- Who risk to be deprived of its imprint ... https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4313699/ WILL APPLE AND SAMSUNG CONFRONT ... sensors using capacitive technology represent a fast growing market, ... an increase of 360% of the number of fingerprint ... sensor market between 2014 and 2017 (source : N+1 ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... , February 28, 2017 News solutions ... ... Amsterdam from 14 to 16 March, Materna will ... and show how seamless travel is a real benefit for passengers. ... added biometrics to their passenger touch point solutions to take passengers ...
(Date:2/24/2017)...  EyeLock LLC, a leader of iris-based identity ... biometric solution on the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 ... World Congress 2017 (February 27 – March ... 3, Stand 3E10. The Snapdragon ... platform—a combination of hardware, software and biometrics ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 Kineta, Inc., ... of novel therapies in immuno-oncology, today announced the ... small molecule compounds that activate interferon response factor ... and demonstrate immune-mediated tumor regression in a murine ... study who demonstrated complete tumor regression to initial ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  Agriculture technology company Cool Planet has ... note conversion to commercialize its Cool Terra and Cool ... developing products that are simultaneously profitable as well as ... last 18 months. This latest round of funding was ... The company,s primary product, Cool Terra, ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN), today announced a ... Biobank and GSK to generate genetic sequence data from the ... will enable researchers to gain valuable insights to support advances ... of serious and life threatening diseases. ... Genetic evidence has revolutionized ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017  UBM and the Massachusetts Medical Device ... partnership and the third annual Massachusetts Medtech Week. Massachusetts ... st Annual MassMEDIC Conference held in conjunction ... 2017. MassMEDIC will feature a ... and CEO, Scott Whitaker , at its ...
Breaking Biology Technology: