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. Biofuel waste becomes valuable chemicals

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by Staff Writers
Houston (UPI) Jul 3, 2008
U.S. chemical engineers say they have developed a technology for cleanly converting problematic biofuel wastes into valuable organic acids.

Rice University researchers said their techniques promise to change the economics of biodiesel refining by a fermentation process that allows E. coli and other enteric bacteria to convert glycerin -- the major waste byproduct of biodiesel production -- into formate, succinate and other profitable organic acids.

"Biodiesel producers used to sell their leftover glycerin, but the rapid increase in biodiesel production has left them paying to get rid of it," said lead researcher Assistant Professor Ramon Gonzalez. "The new metabolic pathways we have uncovered pave the way for the development of new technologies for converting this waste product into high-value chemicals."

The research is available online in the journal Metabolic Engineering.

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Weather clouds future of biofuels
New York (UPI) Jul 1, 2008
U.S. energy experts say recent storms and flooding highlight the risk of the nation's increasing reliance on corn for fuel.

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