The biofuel industry has expanded tremendously over the past decade. LSU AgCenter scientists are conducting research on a wide variety of crops that can be turned into fuel. This issue of the magazine includes the latest results on use of sugarcane, sweet sorghum, switchgrass, algae, Chinese tallow and more. Please contact Linda Benedict, the editor, if you would like a back issue.
Pecans are a possible feedstock for the biodiesel industry. Pecan nuts contain a high amount of fatty acid well-suited for biodiesel production. Given their high value as a foodstuff, the nuts are too valuable to be crushed for oil. However, a significant acreage of pecans is not harvested as food because of disease and insect damage.
Biofuels generally are defined as fuels produced from recently derived organic matter versus fossil fuels, which are derived from ancient organic matter. In either case, solar energy is the original energy source. Concerns about increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide released from burning fossilized carbon, mixed with the desire to secure national energy supplies, have driven research on alternative fuels.
Making biodiesel fuel from vegetableoil or animal fat is a simple process. Rudolph Diesel used raw vegetable oil when he invented the first diesel engine in Augsburg, Germany, in 1893.
LSU AgCenter researchers are investigating production of biodiesel, which has received worldwide attention as a renewable transportation fuel and blending agent.
The biofuel industry in the United States has expanded tremendously over the past decade. Consumption of biofuels has increased faster than any other energy source in recent years.
Switchgrass has many characteristics that make it a desirable cellulosic ethanol feedstock. Switchgrass can be grown with minimal fertilization, and it produces high yields even on marginal soils. It is highly tolerant of flooding and drought and has the potential to produce 1,000 gallons of ethanol per acre, which compares favorably with corn and sugarcane.
The federal mandate for energy security through the development of sustainable biofuels has revived interest in sweet sorghum as a renewable energy crop.
MarketMaker will boost Louisiana agriculture, LSU AgCenter gets $518,000 for blueberry Web site, West Carroll students use technology to improve safety, 10 schools get started with Louisiana 4-H Seeds for Service, Valverde's photo selected for virology journal, TGRx gets first $30 million contract
Biodiesel, a biofuel derived from vegetable and animal fats, burns more cleanly than conventional diesel in modern diesel engines. It also provides superior lubricity and reduces our dependenceon fossil fuels.
Using biomass as an alternative to petroleum-based products for fuel has attracted interest because of its biodegradable nature and renewable properties.
TransGenRx (TGRx) – a biotechnology company started by licensing technology from the LSU AgCenter – has landed its first contract worth $30 million.
The Journal of General Virology, a prestigious international journal of virus research published by the Society for General Microbiology in the United Kingdom, has selected a photo from Rodrigo Valverde, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology, for its October 2009 cover.
Three West Carroll Parish high school students learned enough sophisticated computer technology that they were able to create digital fire district maps, which will be used to improve local services in the parish.
Despite successful production and use of vegetable oil-based biodiesels, the contribution of these alternative fuels (including virgin oil, used cooking oil and animal fat) to the overall transportation fuel scenario is fractional at best. Biodiesel production accounts for about 1 percent of the 50-60 billion gallons of diesel needed annually in the United States.
The LSU AgCenter’s W.A. Callegari Environmental Center has established a well-equipped laboratory to perform biodieselquality control analyses for a nominal charge.
The Chinese tallow tree is perhaps the most promising oilseed crop adapted to the humid South and capable of producing a sufficient supply of feedstock to meet the needs of the U.S. biodiesel industry. The Chinese tallow tree is an introduced species that grows rapidly, spreads profusely and has become naturalized along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is a comprehensive energy-policy law passed by Congress with the primary purpose of increasing energy efficiency and the availability of renewable energy in the United States.
Students at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans along with 10 other schools around the state really know what it means to get down and dirty, thanks to a $25,000 grant secured by the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development office.
To help celebrate National 4-H Week in 2009, which was Oct. 4-10, Louisiana 4-H members joined millions of other 4-H’ers across the nation in participating in a science and technology project.
You can make your own fuel to run in diesel engines for a fraction of what regular petroleum diesel costs. In fact, most people making biodiesel are making it for about $1 a gallon.
The LSU AgCenter, along with a Mississippi agriculture agency and three other southern universities, has been awarded a $518,000 grant to develop an interactive, educational Web site about blueberries.
Louisiana’s agriculture and seafood industries will have a new marketing tool in early 2010 when MarketMaker, a national Internet-driven service, is inauguratedin the state.
Hydrogen is an appealing energy carrier because of its potential for using the most plentiful resources – water and sunlight– to power one of the most environmentally clean reactions, 2H2O = 2H2 + O2 , in which two water molecules yield two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule.
Through hydrothermal processing, plant biomass can be converted into energy and petrochemical products. Hydrothermal treatment involves a chemical reaction conducted in water, which has been heated and pressurized in the absence of dissolved oxygen.
Biorefinery technology is a term coined in the 1990s to describe the fabrication of fuels, solvents, chemicals and plastics from renewable materials. By 2020, the United States is aiming to have at least 25 percent of organic-carbon-based industrial chemicals and 10 percent of liquid fuels from a bio-based industry.