From: University of British Columbia Okanagan
Published July 13, 2017 10:43 AM

New biofuel technology cuts production time significantly

New research from a professor of engineering at UBC’s Okanagan Campus might hold the key to biofuels that are cheaper, safer and much faster to produce.

“Methane is a biofuel commonly used in electricity generation and is produced by fermenting organic material,” says Cigdem Eskicioglu, an associate professor with UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering. “The process can traditionally take anywhere from weeks to months to complete, but with my collaborators from Europe and Australia we’ve discovered a new biomass pretreatment technique that can cut production time nearly in half.”

Starting with materials commonly found in agricultural or forestry waste—including wheat straw, corn husks and Douglas fir bark—Eskicioglu compared traditional fermentation processes with their new technique and found that Douglas fir bark in particular could produce methane 172 per cent faster than before.

“The potential to more efficiently harness the energy from forestry waste products like tree bark can open a world of new opportunities,” says Eskicioglu. “Our new fermentation process would be relatively easy to implement on site and because the bioreactors can be much smaller, the costs can be kept low.”

Read more at University of British Columbia Okanagan

Photo: Cigdem Eskicioglu is a professor of engineering at UBC’s Okanagan Campus. Credit: UBC Okanagan

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