Waste to Oil
Think you need special enzymes to convert plant materials into fuel? It looks like science is getting closer to eliminating that step. Pretty soon we might be able to directly convert crop residues, waste paper, and pretty much anything organic into bio-crude, which is essentially oil.
The secret ingredient? Heat. It turns out that raising the temperature breaks the bonds of organic materials (in fact heat pretty much breaks any bond at a high enough temperature) through a process known as pyrolysis.
Jim Fraser, in a recent article at the Energy Blog, explains how this works:
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