Monday, May 21, 2007

University of Georgia develops biofuel from woodchips

An article by Sam Fahmy, the science writer at the University of Georgia Office of Public Affairs/News Service, touts work by Tom Adams, director of the UGA Faculty of Engineering outreach service, in which wood chips and pellets -- roughly a quarter inch in diameter and six-tenths of an inch long -- are heated in the absence of oxygen at a high temperature (pyrolysis). Up to a third of the dry weight of the wood becomes charcoal, while the rest becomes a gas. Most of this gas is condensed into a liquid bio-oil and chemically treated. About 34 percent of the bio-oil (or 15 to 17 percent of the dry weight of the wood) can be used to power engines.

Such processes are sometimes termed destructive distillations.


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