Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tobacco for biofuel?

From a post at labmanager:

Their goal is to engineer tobacco plants that use energy from sunlight to produce fuel molecules directly in their leaves. The leaves would then be crushed, and the fuel extracted and separated. The scientists estimate that about 1000 acres of tobacco could yield more than one million gallons of fuel.

One million gallons per 1000 acres is 1000 gallons per acre, a figure currently beaten by algae/cyanobacteria.

High risk? Yes. But is it even needed? Does not sound like high payoff.


If this sounds promising—albeit a bit of a long shot—that’s by design. The $4.9 million project is funded by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which focuses on “high risk, high payoff concepts—technologies promising genuine transformation in the ways we generate, store and utilize energy.”

The project is led by Christer Jansson, a plant biochemist with Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division. He’ll discuss the project at the 3rd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, to be held February 27-29 near Washington, D.C.





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