Sunday, February 21, 2010

Science "News of the Week" story pushes cellulosic ethanol

In a "news of the week" story by Anthonio Regalado titled Race for Cellulosic Fuels Spurs Brazilian Research Program, Science gives a push to cellulosic ethanol. [See 327 Science 928 (19 Feb 2010)]. The text includes:

Brazil's $40 million National Laboratory of Bioethanol Science and Technology (CTBE), inaugurated on 22 January, represents the country's big bet to maintain its position as the world's most efficient producer of ethanol. Construction has started on a $12 million pilot plant, where scientists from across Brazil will study how to use enzymes to break down and access sugars that normally remain trapped in sugar-cane straw and processed stalks, known as bagasse. But not everyone in Brazil is convinced by the new cellulosic push; some say the first-generation technology still has space to improve.

Page 929 of the Regalado paper has a table "Biofuels papers", showing #of papers and citations per paper for different countries. The US is number 1 with 5,143 papers and 10.33 citations per paper. Turkey is number 2, China 3, India 4, and Sweden 5. Brazil is number 11 at 345 and 4.31 [the ranking is solely by number of papers).

Regalado quotes Carl E. Pray at Rutgers: "Everyone wants to play in Brazil because of cheap sugar. The technology is going to come whether Brazil develops it or not." "Stuff that is developed in a lab in the U.S. is moving to Brazil that night by e-mail."

Of course, the significance of the article requires CELLULOSIC ethanol to be the next big thing. Maybe it isn't.

Of a different "news of the week" story in Science, see

Kintisch article in Science challenged in Sept. 06 JPTOS

Speaking of Eli Kintisch, at page 934 of the 19 Feb. 2010 issue are "highlights" from an interview by Kintisch of Phil Jones of ClimateGate fame. The FOIA business was obliquely addressed, with one response being "I'd rather not go there" and a second being "We probably should have responded to these requests in a different way." Of the Jones chapter in the 2007 IPCC report: "No regrets, but I don't really want to go talking about IPCC. I stand by the chapter."

See also by Antonio Regalado

Elsewhere in the 19 Feb 2010 issue of Science is the announcement of the retirement of Vernon Ehlers from the House of Representatives.


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