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Transportation Science

Scientists Create New Gasoline Substitute Out of Plants 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the miles-per-leaf dept.
destinyland writes "California scientists have just created a new biofuel using plants that burns just as well as a petroleum-based fuel. 'The discovery, published in the journal Nature, means corn, sugar cane, grasses and other fast-growing plants or trees, like eucalyptus, could be used to make the propellant, replacing oil,' writes the San Francisco Chronicle, and the researchers predict mass marketing of their product within 5 to 10 years. They created their fuel using a fermentation process that was first discovered in 1914, but which was then discontinued in 1965 when petroleum became the dominant source of fuel. The new fuel actually contains more energy per gallon than is currently contained in ethanol, and its potency can even be adjusted for summer or winter driving."
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Scientists Create New Gasoline Substitute Out of Plants

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:32AM (#42613643)

    but can you use it as an excuse to invade?

    • by Cryacin (657549) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:39AM (#42613687)
      First you get the sugar, then you get the women.
    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:52AM (#42613807) Journal

      but can you use it as an excuse to invade?

      You've got it backwards man, oil is the reason to invade. Evil dictators and terrorists are the excuse.

  • hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:34AM (#42613651)
    How much energy does it take to create given a requirement of infinite sustainability? i.e. you have to replenish the soil in which the trees grow with fertilizer, etc.
    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by ComfortablyAmbiguous (1740854) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:36AM (#42613667)
      Well, if you wanted to really keep your energy usage down you'd grow a nitrogen fixing plant like peanuts every other year, avoiding the need for petroleum based fertilizers.
      • Or genetically modify your fuel source to do this by it self. Or maybe alfalfa grass is a good fuel crop. It already has Rhizobia nodules in it's roots, so it can use nitrogen in the air.
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FridayBob (619244) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:39AM (#42613685) Homepage
      To put it another way, How many gallons of this fuel will it take to produce one gallon of this fuel?
      • by jhoegl (638955)
        About as much shit as people can shit in a week to reconstitute the soil with vital shit that plants need.
      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:26AM (#42613997)

        I was listening to NPR on the way home today and the article mentioned that if we took all the biomass from all of the farmland both producing and fallow and were able to convert it all directly to ethanol that it would STILL only account for 14% of the US energy budget. So if we all stopped eating, and stopped exporting food, we'd still only scratch the surface of the energy we use. Converting crops/crop waste is a dead end track, it's simply not in the right order of magnitude to solve our problem, we need to focus on increased efficiency on the consumption end of thing if we want to get a handle on the problem and then we can start looking at non-plant solutions like solar, wind, and possibly large scale algae farming (much higher production per acre and it doesn't have to compete with food production)

        • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by proca (2678743) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:49AM (#42614101)
          Solar and wind and every other new-wave energy source is just a way to supplement base load. If you know anything about electricity generation, you should know that the world depends on base load energy: energy generated from reliable sources that accounts for like 70% of all energy usage, i.e. coal, gas and nuclear. Until we find a solution for base load energy like fusion or invent god-like batteries or power lines made of superconductors that cost $100 per mile, everything else is a pipe dream.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            or invent god-like batteries

            We have, it's called pumped hydro storage. It requires construction - just like a coal or nuclear plant - but once operating and fed by sources such as wind and solar it provides a very low pollution on-demand power supply.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by taucross (1330311)
          If grasses can be used then the OP's idea isn't so far fetched. Could you imagine racks of dirt and grass 1km high? Creating giant tower racks of biomass to support the creation of fuel could be done to create sufficient energy density. I guess we could call it a "Rack-mount Blade server". Boom boom
        • And that's why what we're looking for is a water-borne algee that can be converted into fuel. Blanket the oceans with it and watch it soak up the CO2 from the water (where it's doing the most damage) then turn it into fuel. Easy to raise, self reproducing, needs little to no care.

          • And if nobody ever eats seafood again, that's a small price to pay. I mean the great white has survived the K2 event and that wiped out the dinosaurs so I'm SURE it will survive your algae blanket !

        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:58AM (#42614361) Journal

          ... article mentioned that if we took all the biomass from all of the farmland both producing and fallow and were able to convert it all directly to ethanol that it would STILL only account for 14% of the US energy budget.

          (Ignoring for the moment whether the claim is accurate ...)

          The idea is not to replace the whole energy needs of the country with biomass fuels. Smelting steel or refining aluminum with it, for instance, would be downright silly. Ditto running power plants: (Even if you wanted to use biomass there'd be no reason to waste part of its energy liquifying it - just burn it directly. But there are lots of cheaper alternatives.)

          But there's a small-but-substantial fraction of the load for which liquid fuels is ideal: Vehicles. Liquid fuels provide enormous power-to-weight ratios, which is what you want there. Keeping a vehicle light pays dividends in fuel savings, as does providing energy using easy-to-handle liquid with high energy content.

          The base process ferments cellulose into butanol, acetone, and ethanol. Even without this new post-processing hack, butanol is a drop-in replacement for gasoline, ethanol works in otto-cycle engines with a little tweaking and acetone with more tweaking. This new post-process turns the mix into something akin to fuel oil, which is a similar drop-in for diesel cycle engines. So it covers both major types of portable engines.

          Even if you can't come up with enough fuel to run the whole economy, or even the whole transportation industry, from locally-grown biomass, there's a LOT of low-value byproducts grown in the process of growing crops. Turning it into high-value portable liquid fuel could make a substantial dent in oil requirements while improving the financial picture both for vehicle users and farmers.

          Solar and wind aren't well suited for the enormous energy and energy-density needs of land vehicles (though we're getting closer with modern electric vehicles for limited ranges). But they can make a similar dent in the energy needs of stationary loads.

        • Combustion has pretty much reached a dead end in efficiency, we need to find a better way to use our liquid hydrocarbons.

          Electric cars are great to drive. They're smooth, quiet, have very few moving parts and are "energy agnostic". They don't care where the electricity comes from, as long as it's there. But they also have issues with energy storage, current battery tech just isn't ready yet.

          What I propose is to use fuel cells to provide the electricity. Not hydrogen fuel cells, as hydrogen has way too many

          • The way I see it, cold weather is the major problem facing electric/fuel cell cars. When Consumer Reports tested the Nissan Leaf at -12 C, the range indicator started at 32 km, but the car went into limp-home mode after 13 km. Li-ion batteries are terrible at handling low temp, just ask winter sport videographers about why they continue to use NiMh batteries in their equipment. If you look at the pink parts of this world map [qwikcast.com], you see roughly the places that get more than 5 days every year with temperatures
        • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SunTzuWarmaster (930093) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:44AM (#42615719) Homepage

          Pretend for a moment that our current energy needs are met 100% through non-renewable sources:
          gas, coal, oil, fission

          What would make you think that there is one solution which replaces these? What makes you think it is biomass?

          In reality, we will probably meet these needs through another combination of 'renewable' energy sources:
          wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass sources (algae, sugar beets), space-based sources (collection/transmission)

          Additionally, our energy issues, like financial issues, are related to spending as well as creating. A more complete solution involves:
          more (or less) efficient electronics, 'offer' off states, more efficient heating/cooling/lighting, better reuse of 'waste' heating/cooling, increased storage and storage time for batteries, more conductive transmission of power, quicker start up and cool down of generation facilities, repurposing (or double-purposing) existing land/roof space for generation/storage, and many more incremental improvements.

          We have quite a bit of biomass, and we would like to use it for power in addition to all our other supply. This is part of a larger solution, and should not be criticized with the point of "This can only be PART of the solution". Take joy in the advancements when they come.

    • How much energy does it take to create given a requirement of infinite sustainability? i.e. you have to replenish the soil in which the trees grow with fertilizer, etc.

      TFA says grasses might be via source material - "anything fast growing" - perhaps clippings from cutting all our lawns?

  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:36AM (#42613665) Homepage Journal

    I know bio-diesel requires oil-producing crops vs. sugar producing crops, but other than that I'm curious how this fuel might be "better" than bio-diesel. Given that bio-diesel can be produced using hemp seed oil (a plant that literally grows like a weed in the worst of conditions), I'd think the hemp alternative would be better.

    The milled hemp kernels left behind by the oil extraction provide a high-protein animal feed, and the stalks produce fiber that can replace a wide number of products.

    I'd guess the remaining hemp stalk material after the fiber has been extracted could still be put through this fermentation process.

    So enlighten me.

    Why aren't we pursuing hemp-based bio-diesel instead?

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:43AM (#42613715) Homepage Journal

      Why aren't we pursuing hemp-based bio-diesel instead?

      Because aerial surveillance can't tell the low-THC strains of C. sativa grown for hemp from the higher-THC strains grown for a psychoactive substance. Perhaps one of the U.S. states that has legalized pot on a state level (with President Obama's announced lack of enforcement priority) can experiment with a hemp industry.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dave's not here, man.
    • The article claims: " about 90 percent of the raw material remains in the finished product." Seems like good efficiency, I guess.
    • The article calls the resulting fuel "diesel" a couple of times. This apparently is bio diesel, using an old industrial process and then a new catalyst (I'm betting that the ip for the catalyst will be owned by bp) to convert the output of the old process into the fuel.

    • by Jiro (131519) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:50AM (#42613779)

      Because hemp is being vastly oversold by people who want to get high on pot and figure that promoting hemp growing is a way to legalization.

      Growing hemp is legal pretty much everywhere in Europe. If hemp was as much a wonder material as its promoters claimed it was, Europe would be using it for bio-diesel anyway.

    • by ColaMan (37550)

      Something to do with replacing the half-a-billion existing vehicles that can't run on bio-diesel perhaps?

      If someone can figure out how to manufacture a 'drop-in' replacement for normal petrol / gasolene then you can jump start the entire process without waiting the 20-30 years for passenger diesel engines to become the bulk of the market.

      • by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:48AM (#42614097)

        If biodiesel was 30% less expensive than gasoline, I would expect to see a market shift within 5 years.

        The technology is available now, but diesel cars don't seem to be popular in the US - probably because diesel is 20% more expensive than gasoline in the US. In Europe, where gasoline and diesel fuel prices are much closer to even, diesel cars are far more common.

        • by azalin (67640)
          Exactly, there would be no need for new developments (on the passenger car side) - at least for companies that don't exclusively produce for the US market. The only difference would be, that ohter versions of the same cars would be shipped to the US. As far as I recall, most cars in Europe can be ordered with different engine types (usually 3-4 gasoline and 1-2 diesel versions, each with different horsepower) . Most new gasoline engines also can be converted to run on natural gas (mostly a second tank and n
        • by hubang (692671)
          Diesel cars aren't AVAILABLE in the US. I bought a new car about 2 years ago. They sell the same car in other markets with a diesel. I would have paid a premium for the diesel. Not even an option.

          There are NO compact or sub-compacts sold with a diesel in the US, except for the Volkswagen Jetta (which I didn't want with any powerplant). When American's complained about getting a joke SMART car that got about half the fuel economy the Canadian diesel version got, they stopped selling the diesel versions in
  • by A bsd fool (2667567) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:37AM (#42613677)

    What is with these people that think we can meet any reasonable amount of our energy needs, nationally or globally, with alcohol? It takes literally seconds to look up the maximum arable land in a country, determine how much fuel you could make if you used all of it at 100% efficiency, and then see that this is nowhere near enough fuel to replace gasoline. During this exercise you're allowed to ignore the impact this would have when that land is no longer available for current purposes.

    Until there are major advances in where this stuff can be grown, to get the energy produced per acre much higher than it actually is, and prevent "simple" natural disasters from ruining entire crops for the season, this stuff is never going to take off no matter the hype.

    • Until there are major advances in where this stuff can be grown

      Advances like the ability to process switchgrass, which can grow on marginal farmland, and other sources of cellulose such as waste wood? They're working on that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by A bsd fool (2667567)

        1. Switchgrass average production: 14.6 tons / hectare

        2. Ethanol 100 gallons/ton

        3. Total land area (not arable, total for CONUS, period) 766 million hectares

        Total fuel production per year: 1.1 trillion gallons

        Gasoline and diesel consumption in 2011: 200 billion gallons.

        So you tell me. Do you think it's realistic to convert 20% of the total land area of the country to switchgrass production? It would certainly make sense to use it to replace corn, once the technology matures, but it's never going to repla

  • When I first submitted [slashdot.org] this last November I thought it might be something that would be shot down fairly soon by "Real Science" (TM), good to see that it is still considered viable. And you'd get more plant material with less environmental impact from industrial hemp than most of the others. - HEX
  • I'm wondering how long it will be before Big Oil starts claiming that this substitute damages your car. Or that somehow, "true oil" is better for the environment. Brings to mind the situation with lab grown carbon crystals...it just isn't a diamond unless it was pulled out of the ground through the sweat and labor of someone making minimum wage, right?
    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:49AM (#42613767) Journal
      Not to shatter your conspiratorial fantasy, but this research was actually funded by BP. A lot of big oil companies are investing in alternate energy these days as a hedge for when oil is no longer needed. They say, "We're not in the oil business, we're in the energy business."
      • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:18AM (#42613949)

        Not to shatter your conspiratorial fantasy, but this research was actually funded by BP. A lot of big oil companies are investing in alternate energy these days as a hedge for when oil is no longer needed. They say, "We're not in the oil business, we're in the energy business."

        Correction: A lot of big oil companies are interested in patenting alternate energy sources these days, because patents can stifle innovation...

        • Correction: A lot of big oil companies are interested in patenting alternate energy sources these days, because patents can stifle innovation...

          Where did you get that information? Is that something you made up? Go look at BP's wind farms, and ask yourself why they would actually be building things if they only cared about patents and stifling things.

          • by swillden (191260)
            BP is also one of the biggest manufacturers of solar panels.
          • It goes back to the ridiculous conspiracy claims that some guy invented a carburetor that makes your engine get 50 mpg, but he was bought out by the oil companies and his invention ended up in the same warehouse as the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Indiana Jones.

            Never mind that there are carbureted vehicles that get 50mpg - they're called motorcycles.

        • Patents are also only valid for 20 years. I see this bandied point around to the point of being nearly trollish - by patenting something, yes, you tie it up, but you've also created 1) an asset you can license out 2) a codified body of knowledge that anyone can refer to. You've done your homework well enough that someone else can look at later and see what you did, in exchange for protection of that process. Big Oil companies have been around a lot longer than 20 years and have their fair share of patents,
        • Correction: A lot of big oil companies are interested in patenting alternate energy sources these days, because patents can stifle innovation...

          Kodak: Invents the digital camera, then sits on it for fear that it would destroy their film industry.
          GE: Invents the fluorescent light bulb and markets it to businesses while selling their incandescents to homes.

          According to a pie chart on Wikipedia; in 2009, petroleum accounted for only 1% of us power generation in the US. 'Other renewables', which is going to be made up of wind, solar, and geothermal accounted for 3.6%. Oil companies fund research into renewables because they never made it into that mass

    • I'm wondering how long it will be before Big Oil starts claiming that this substitute damages your car.

      Given how far BP and the other big energy companies claim to want to extend themselves "beyond petroleum" (as BP rebranded itself), I'd imagine they'd want to get into the ABE fuel business themselves.

  • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:41AM (#42613707)

    What about the system efficiency?

    "Look!
    You only need 20kWh of electricity, 1m**3 of water, 2m**2 of land and 3 liters of fertilizer to get 1 liter of biofuel.
    We will revolutionize the world in 10 years!"

    People complain all the time about low efficiency of PV Panels, but they're still 5 times better than photosynthesis.

  • Anyone hungry? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by astro (20275) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:45AM (#42613729) Homepage

    With a planet full of starving people I continue to fail to understand how using food crops for fuel makes any kind of rational sense at all.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:54AM (#42613821) Homepage Journal
      Hunger in poor countries is not a production problem quite as much as a distribution problem.
      • by afgam28 (48611) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:19AM (#42614221)

        According to this site [cnn.com] total global food production is 4.4 billion tonnes per year, so in a world of 7 billion people that's 629 kg per person per year, or 1.7 kg per day. The average (median) American eats 1.03 kg per day, and the 90th percentile eats 1.73 kg per day, according to the EPA [epa.gov].

        About 2.4 billion tonnes is cereals [wikipedia.org] (e.g. corn, rice, wheat).

        So yeah, if we're producing enough to feed 7 billion 90th percentile Americans, I think it's safe to say it's a distribution problem not a supply problem.

        • Its also a waste problem. We throw away tons and tons of perfectly good food that we seem unfit for sale because of slight imperfections in appearance.
    • The problem with food-for-fuel is that it's just not efficient. On top of the damage that ethanol does to vehicles...

      • Re:Anyone hungry? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:24AM (#42614447)
        In Europe we already allow 5% ethanol in gasoline. People are lobbying to allow 10%. This does not damage engines, but assuming it is done (and with bio-ethanol) it does put a 5 or 10% dent in the CO2 production.
        Now with high percentages (90% for example) of ethanol some trouble does arise. Ethanol is soluble in water. Engines do not like water, so high ethanol percentages could carry to much dissolved water. That can damage an engine.

        Now if some chemist could find a way to remove that pesky oxigen, polimerise the resulting ethane (or ethylene) to a bit longer chains with some branching and some double C connections (to get the flammability right) then we'd simply have bio-gasoline and we'd just have the problem that we can't create enough bioethanol to fuel the world.
        • People are lobbying to allow 10%. This does not damage engines, but assuming it is done (and with bio-ethanol) it does put a 5 or 10% dent in the CO2 production.

          There's quite a lot of debate about that. One thing that 10% ethanol does wreck havoc with is rubber fuel lines on older cars, eventually making them brittle. There's also complaints about it ruining valve seals, again on older cars. Of course these things can be replaced, but it isn't as harmless as the biofuel lobby would suggest, as it seems to dry out and degrade rubber quite quickly.

          Biofuels are okay, but we shouldn't be thinking of them as anything more than a bridge from oil burning combustion to wha

    • by fgouget (925644)

      With a planet full of starving people I continue to fail to understand how using food crops for fuel makes any kind of rational sense at all.

      This does not seem to be limited to food crops. Sure they mention "corn, sugar cane, molasses" but immediately add that it also works with "woody biomass or plant biomass", "grass" and "Eucalyptus". So as long as we (as a species) are smart enough to apply this technology to the right sources it should be fine on the hunger front (sure, us being smart enough is questionable).

      What I really wonder is whether that means they've solved the cellulose conversion issues. Given that the article does not brag about

  • We just need _so_ much more fuel than plants could produce. Even if we use high efficiency plants like hemp we don't have enough fertile ground to grow enough plants.

    Plants are really inefficient when it comes to turning sunlight into carbohydrates. That's simply just a by-product of their life.

    • by dbc (135354)

      Compare the efficiency of plans turning sunlight into carbohydrates, with that of a planet's geologic processes turning the results of mass-extinction events into fossil fuels over millions of years. Most of Earths oil was produced during two distinct mass-extinction events long ago. We're on track to use every drop of it up over the course of a couple hundred years. The phrase 'burn rate' comes to mind. If the planet can't produce energy that fast, then perhaps, we need to cut back how much we burn, eh

      • by Casandro (751346)

        Absolutely. Or at least we'd have to move to more sustainable forms of energy gathering like wind or solar.

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@EEEgmail.com minus threevowels> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:50AM (#42613773)
    Gasoline substitute....5 to 10 years out.....***puts on shades***...sounds like vaporware.
  • 5 years (Score:5, Funny)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:51AM (#42613787) Journal
    According to the article, it will be ready for the market in five to ten years [xkcd.com].
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:03AM (#42613879) Homepage

    Until cost and EROEI [wikipedia.org] figures come out, this is vaporware. There are lots of ways to make fuel from biomass, but most of them are too expensive. Some consume more energy than they produce (EROEI < 1). Any useful process needs an EROEI over 5, and preferably over 10, to be worth the trouble. Photovoltaic is now up to 7, which is encouraging. Ethanol from corn is listed as 1.3, and some studies put it at less than 1. (Ethanol distillation plants, unlike oil refineries, don't run on their own product; they take in natural gas or some other fuel.)

    I see the hemp enthusiasts are out in force again. Hemp isn't a good fuel crop. If you just want biomass for cellulose, you use agricultural waste - corn husks and cobs, straw, bagasse from sugar cane, etc. Hemp seed oil is useful, but only a small part of the biomass comes out as oil. There are better plants for direct oil production.

    • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:52AM (#42614777)

      I am usually very concerned with EROEI but there is one instance where and EROEI of less than 1 is not a problem. The is in converting the energy into something much more transportable. For example geothermal heat does not travel well or store well. We currently are very good at converting it into electricity. That travels better but still has limits and storage is very expensive. We can convert the energy into hydrocarbons that store very well and transport very well. It does not matter if we only get half the energy out that we put in if the energy we put in is not usable where it is now.;

  • Hello, (Subaru) Forester.
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:51AM (#42614109)
    Just wondering how corrosive it is to the seals in an engine? That's the downside of regular alcohol it rots the seals on most cars. The description makes it sound even more corrosive than straight alcohol or ethanol. Sounds great but if it kills the engines after a few thousand miles it's hardly a replacement. I love bio fuels but most engines aren't designed to run them. They need to work more with car makers to bring this stuff to market. My guess is that's part of the ten year plan.
  • CO2? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spongman (182339) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:13AM (#42614199)

    great, but when you burn it does it still spew CO2 into the atmosphere?

    when are we going wake up and start using cars powered by hydrogen separated from water in LFTRs?

    • Yes, but when you grow it, CO2 is removed, so it balances.
    • Re:CO2? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by azalin (67640) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:17AM (#42614625)
      You seem to have missed the production part (aka photosynthesis) were CO2 is consumed. Plants use CO2 from the air to grow, so even if you burn the plant afterwards, you'll end up with no extra CO2 in the atmosphere. At most you'll end up with the same amount you had before. Fossil fuel (oil, coal, natural gas) is different even because the carbon in it, was stored millions of years ago and has been absent from the atmosphere for this time.
      Hydrogen while producing "cleaner" emissions at the combustion location, does not have any net advantage in CO2 over biofuel. There may be some difference in the production process, but I have no idea which fuel source comes up better in that category (once optimized).
  • by zmooc (33175) <`ten.coomz' `ta' `coomz'> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:54AM (#42614795) Homepage

    The discovery, published in the journal Nature, means corn...

    If this research was really worthwhile, they'd have published their paper publicly instead of in some elitist magazine. This kind of behavior by scientists is exactly what late Aaron Swartz denounced. Once again important research stays hidden within the confines of paywall-locked information-vaults. Great...

    By the way, Berkeley itself already published about this in November.
    http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2012/11/08/more-bang-for-the-biofuel-buck/ [lbl.gov]

  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:56AM (#42614801) Homepage

    Oh come on, Slashdot.

    150 comments and not a mention of Triffid oil?

    I'm disappointed. What has this site come to?

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @10:45AM (#42616235)

    whose output is chemical, and inefficient. As long as we're going to use concentrated sunlight anyway, we'd do better to make more efficient batteries instead of needing more biomass, setting us up for even more ecological disaster.

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