Trash and Bacteria Remain Supreme in Biofuel Manufacturing

Biofuels have the potential to come from any number of sources. On one end of the spectrum we have a variety of crops and plant based biofuels that extend all the way to algae based biofuels, while on the other end we get more interesting developments like whiskey biofuel. One of the latest trends in biofuel news is the development of bacteria that are capable of creating biofuels out of a multitude of materials. Paired with bacteria, there have also been some movements to try and develop biofuels out of sewage and wastewater that have gone pretty far towards being successful.

On the bacteria biofuel front, United Kingdom based company TMO Renewables has come forward with a bacteria that they believe will be able to make the process of creating biofuels faster and more efficient. The bacteria is able to break down a variety of different waste products ranging from cardboard or tea bags from the house hold trash to the left over plant product that is comes as a result of harvesting crops. The key use of the bacteria, TMO Renewables believes, is that it can breakdown a wider variety of materials faster, making the production of certain biofuels more efficient and more cost effective.

According to Hamish Curran, the CEO of TMO Renewables, the bacteria is going to be used in fifteen new plants that the company plans to construct as a part of their partnership with an American company called Fibereight. The collaboration is a greater part of TMO’s plan to enter into the American biofuel market which has been seen by the United Kingdom based company as a larger and more effective industry. In an interview with CNBC, Hamish Curran noted that the boost to the renewable energy economy President Obama has started working towards makes the United States a more attractive place to begin selling biofuels.

On the other side of the world, specifically at the University of Nevada at Reno, a team of researchers have been working to create biofuel from wastewater run-off. According to the researchers, the excess materials that are generated after wastewater is treated can be broken down and eventually turned into a gas that can be used to generate electricity. The researchers note that the biofuel generated this way could be used to power the very wastewater treatment plants that are creating the run-off to begin with resulting in a cleaner method of generating electricity and a new way to take care of the excess material. Early tests have been fairly successful, showing that the fuel is able to generate approximately twenty five megawatts of power daily.

With TMO Renewables preparing to burst onto the American market with their bacteria based biofuel methods and the researchers in Reno working with wastewater; it looks like trash is becoming a more popular method of creating biofuel. Since this helps tremendously in the whole ‘food versus fuel’ argument, one Hamish Curran was quick to note in his interview, it is possible that this style of creating biofuel could be more prominent as time moves on.