August 30, 2011

All the news that's fit to print--AND BURN?

Irene knocked out our power for two days, and I just now read some exciting news from Tulane University scientists. They discovered a bacterial strain, called "TU-103," that can produce the biofuel butanol from newspaper. Probably any old office paper could work, but they experimented with their local paper, The Times-Picayune.

Tulane has applied for a patent for this promising method to produce bio-butanol directly from cellulose. Butanol is better than ethanol as a biofuel because it requires no modifications to engines, is less corrosive, and has more energy. Plus, we Americans throw away 323 million tons of cellulose materials each year, so we'd save landfill space as well.