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. ConocoPhillips, NREL and Iowa State To Establish Biofuels Research Alliance

"The thermochemical and biochemical conversion of cellulosic biomass into liquid fuels has great promise to be a clean and renewable source of energy that doesn't compete with our food supply," said Robert C. Brown, Iowa Farm Bureau director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State.
by Staff Writers
Golden CO (SPX) Apr 14, 2008
ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), headquartered in Golden, CO, have announced a strategic research alliance with Iowa State University (ISU) to identify promising cellulosic biomass conversion technologies to further diversify the nation's energy sources and help meet growing energy demand.

The collaboration will bring three independently established programs together to help identify the most efficient and cost-effective methods for making liquid transportation fuels from plants.

Transportation fuels today primarily come from petroleum, corn grain or food crops. The collaboration between ConocoPhillips, NREL and ISU will develop conversion technologies that will use cellulosic materials such as corn stalks, stems, leaves, other non-food agricultural residues, hardy grasses and fast-growing trees as feedstocks for future transportation fuels.

The processes that will be examined in this collaboration include gasification, pyrolysis and fermentation.

"ConocoPhillips is committed to the development of technologies that will convert sustainable non-food feedstocks into transportation fuels that will be critical to the nation's energy security," said Stephen Brand, ConocoPhillips senior vice president, Technology. "We are hopeful that this collaboration will expand the knowledge base and speed the development of these environmental technologies."

"Research cooperation among government, industry and academia is needed to efficiently address the many questions about how to find the best ways to convert biomass to liquid transportation fuels," said Tom Foust, technology manager for NREL's National Bioenergy Center.

"The thermochemical and biochemical conversion of cellulosic biomass into liquid fuels has great promise to be a clean and renewable source of energy that doesn't compete with our food supply," said Robert C. Brown, Iowa Farm Bureau director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State.

"This research collaboration brings together the complementary strengths of a major energy company, a national energy laboratory and a land-grant university to advance these technologies and move them closer to the marketplace."

The collaboration could lead to projects that could provide publicly available, peer-reviewed papers and models. Each party is providing its own time and resources and the collaboration is expected to produce an initial report by January 2009.

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Cow Stomach Holds Key To Turning Corn Into Biofuel
East Lansing MI (SPX) Apr 10, 2008
An enzyme from a microbe that lives inside a cow's stomach is the key to turning corn plants into fuel, according to Michigan State University scientists. The enzyme that allows a cow to digest grasses and other plant fibers can be used to turn other plant fibers into simple sugars. These simple sugars can be used to produce ethanol to power cars and trucks.

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