January 14, 2010

Biofuel R&D updates

The biofuel industry might be struggling right now but advanced technology developments are definitely still alive and kicking -- especially if government grants and funding from both public and private sector are flowing in.

There are sooo many news this past two weeks but the recent ones that came into my attention are Cobalt's new biobutanol demo facility in California; Cavitation Technologies' new patent on algal extraction for biofuel; renewable jet fuels using camelina oilseed; and advancement of jatropha-based biofuels.

Cobalt formally launched this week its first biomass-based n-butanol pilot facility in California. The chemical can be used as a standalone fuel; blended with gasoline, diesel and ethanol; converted into jet fuel or plastics, or even sold as is for use in paints and coatings.

The company intends to quickly scale up its technology, adding two additional small-scale plants and a commercial 15-to-50-million-gallon plant by 2014 and producing biobutanol that is competitive with corn-based ethanol by 2012.

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