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More flexible method floated to produce biofuels, electricity--Purdue News (10/14/08)

October 14, 2008

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers are proposing a new "flexible" approach to producing alternative fuels, hydrogen and electricity from municipal solid wastes, agricultural wastes, forest residues and sewage sludge that could supply up to 20 percent of transportation fuels in the United States annually.

The method offers a potential solution to problems that might be created by increasing production of ethanol with conventional methods, which use corn grain as a feedstock. Boosting ethanol production with conventional methods would require additional crops and heavy fertilizer use, increasing runoff into waterways and threatening ecosystems.

The new concept, however, which Purdue researchers call a flexible carbon-to-liquid fuel process, would require no additional crops and use primarily wastes as the feedstock, said Fu Zhao, a Purdue assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

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