A new process being developed at the University of Kansas aims to turn treated sewage into biofuel. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy and USDA are putting $24 million into research of other biomass and biofuel projects.
At KU, researchers are testing a process by which microbes munch through treated sewage, creating an algae brew that can be harvested and turned into biofuel, reports the Journal Record.
During the process, the organic matter in the sewage is purified further, helping solve a problem of what to do with the waste, researchers say. The project is receiving Department of Transportation funding.
In further funding, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced $24 million in grants for biofuels, bioenergy and other bio-based products, according to a press release.
Among the biomass projects:
– GE Global Research is developing kinetic models of biomass gasification.
– Gevo Inc. is working on a yeast fermentation organism to convert cellulosic-derived sugars into biofuel.
– Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp. is working on a dry fermentation project to turn food waste into biogas, heat and electrical power.
– Velocys Inc. is working on a smaller, more efficient way of converting biomass to biofuels that involves parallel arrays of channels a fifth of an inch wide.
In the area of biofuel production:
– Purdue University is analyzing the global impacts of second-generation biofuels.
– The University of Minnesota is investigating the sustainability of forest-based biofuel feedstocks in the Great Lakes regions.
– The Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials is comparing varying methods of collecting biomass from various sources for conversion to fuels for their environmental and economic impacts. The goal is to estimate the national potential for biofuels production.