[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Researchers ID structure of key intermediate in enzyme converting methane to methanol; potential for synthetic fuels
January 26, 2015
A team from the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University has identified the structure of the key intermediate “Q” in the enzyme methane monooxygenase (MMO). MMO catalyzes the O2-dependent conversion of methane to methanol in methanotrophic bacteria, thereby preventing the emission into the atmosphere of approximately one billion tons of this potent greenhouse gas annually.
Q is one of the most powerful oxidizing intermediates occurring in nature. Exploiting this extreme oxidizing potential is of great interest for bioremediation and the development of synthetic approaches to methane-based alternative fuels and chemical industry feedstocks, the authors noted in their paper, published in the journal Nature. The insight gained into the formation and reactivity of Q from the structure reported is an important step towards harnessing this potential, the authors suggested.
Novozymes launches commercial enzyme technology to convert waste oils into biodiesel
December 02, 2014
Novozymes has launched Eversa Transform, the first commercially available enzymatic solution (a liquid lipase) to convert both glycerides and free fatty acids (FFA) into biodiesel. Biodiesel producers can thereby use cooking oil or other lower grade oils as biodiesel feedstock, reducing their raw material costs. The resulting enzymatic biodiesel is sold to the same trade specification as biodiesel created through traditional chemical processing.
Growing demand for vegetable oil in the food industry has resulted in increased prices, causing biodiesel producers to search for alternative—and more sustainable—feedstocks. Most of the oils currently used in biodiesel production are sourced from soybeans, palm or rapeseed, and typically contain less than 0.5% free fatty acids (FFA). Existing biodiesel process designs have difficulty handling oils containing more than 0.5% FFA—i.e., waste oils with high FFAs have not been a viable feedstock option.
Researchers enhance yeast thermotolerance and ethanol tolerance; potential for significant impact on industrial biofuel production
October 03, 2014
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays a central role in global biofuel production; currently, about 100 billion liters of ethanol are produced annually worldwide by fermentation of mainly sugarcane saccharose and corn starch by the yeast. There are also efforts underway to use the yeast with cellulosic biomass.
Boosting the yield and lowering the cost of fermentative production of biofuel would not only result in a significant immediate financial impact to commercial ethanol operations, but also support cost reductions that would be helpful to advance other advanced biofuels using the same or a similar pathway. However, boosting production has been gated by two key conditions: the ability of the yeast to tolerate higher temperatures, and the ability of the yeast to survive high concentrations of ethanol. Now, two new separate studies report progress on each of those fronts; the findings could have a significant impact on industrial biofuel production. Both papers are published in the current issue of the journal Science.
China Yuchai introduces 8 new diesel engines for on-road and off-road applications; plug-in hybrid model
January 27, 2014
China Yuchai International Limited’s main operating subsidiary, Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company Limited (GYMCL), unveiled 8 new engine models for truck, construction and marine applications.
To better meet the needs of the truck and bus markets in China, several new engine models were introduced, all meeting the National IV emission standards (comparable to Euro IV). The new YC4E-48 is a light-truck diesel engine for urban logistical uses, special purpose vehicles and other vehicles focused on short- to mid-range transportation. This model uses a two-valve cylinder head combined with a Bosch common rail system paired with EGR, DOC and POC technologies. Its power range covers 103-118 kW (138-158 hp).