Biofuel derived from sawdust
A scientific breakthrough could mean that a range of plant material could be turned into biofuels.
Scientists have discovered a chemical reaction that turns the lignin in products such as sawdust into the precursors of ethanol and biodiesel, reports ABC News.
Recently, the biofuel industry has increased rapidly after oil shortages have meant that the transportation sector has turned to using these types of fuel.
It is thought that this new generation of biofuels could relieve pressure on crop production by breaking down larger plant molecules.
By converting the lignin in wood into liquid transport fuel, yields of biofuel will be increased.
Yuan Kou and his team at Peking University in Beijing have come up with a way of breaking down lignins to produce the alkanes and alcohols needed for biofuel.
Lignin is a complex chemical compound, which is most commonly derived from wood and forms part of the cell walls of plants.
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