OnTheRoadCT.com Auto Blog
Running On Empty
4:52 PM EDT, September 1, 2011
As if you needed another reason to buy newspapers (sorry, cheap marketing plug there), there's now research that suggests they can be used for biofuels.
From Cars.com, via The Detroit News:
If researchers at Tulane University have their way, old news could be a new fuel.
The researchers have discovered a bacterial microbe that likes the taste of old newspapers — the cellulosic wood pulp that makes the paper, to be more exact. In the process of eating the paper, the microbes excrete a biofuel that can act as a substitute for gasoline, the Detroit News reports.
Such microbes aren’t new; we outlined their potential to make ethanol a few years ago. The difference here is the type of fuel that comes out of the microbes: butanol.
Butanol is better than ethanol because it doesn’t require any modifications to today’s gasoline-powered engines. (Many older cars can’t accept E15, let alone E85.) Also, butanol would generate similar gas mileage performance as gasoline. Ethanol has 27% less energy per gallon compared with gas.
It’s not yet known if this discovery is marketable or scalable, especially since alternative fuels are a bit out of vogue, with more attention focused on electrics, plug-ins and hybrids. A wider variety of renewable power is always a good problem to have, though.
Check out the full article here.