Hydrocarbon biofuels

The MIT Tech Review has a story about a new process for turning plant sugars into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Another interesting aspect of this story that the byproducts of the process can be used to create other industrial chemicals and plastics.  This further reduces independence on fossil based oil products.

The process under development will “employ chemical reactions instead of microbial fermentation. They use catalysts at high temperatures to convert glucose into hydrocarbon biofuels. The process works thousands of times faster than microbes do because of the higher temperatures, so it requires smaller, cheaper reactors, Dumesic says. The catalysts and reformer systems that they use are similar to those used in oil refineries, which would also make the process simpler.”

Simple is good.