Scientists discover 'economical' biofuel production

The cost of creating cellulosic biofuel could soon be drastically reduced after scientists discovered a new processing method.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that by pre-treating corn-crop waste before ethanol conversion, no additional nutrients were required for the formation of biofuel.

Head of the investigation, Bruce Dale, believes that adding ammonia to the waste makes the eventual conversion into biofuel 75 per cent more efficient.

He commented: "It's always been assumed that agricultural residues such as corn stover didn't have enough nutrients to support fermentation. We have shown this isn't so."

He added that breaking cellulose down into fermentable sugars in an economical way had always been an issue in cellulosic ethanol production, but the new method should "dramatically reduce the cost".

The research team concluded that the next step in the process would likely be the development of a pilot plant.

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