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Scientists discover shortcut for turning grass into plane fuel. 

Scientists

It takes millions of years for natural processes to convert plants into gasoline, but researchers at Ghent University have figured out how to do it much faster. By pre-treating grass to make it break down quicker, and then adding Clostridium bacteria similar to that found in your gut, they produced decane, one of the main ingredients of gasoline and jet fuel. While decane is a polluting fuel, commercial jets will need it for at least the next few decades, and the researchers believe their process is efficient enough to make it commercially feasible.

For their system to work, the scientists first treated the grass with a compound that broke it down and made it easier for bacteria to digest. They then treated it with an enriched Clostridium bacteria from the family that makes up the good bacteria in your gut, rather than the one that kills you. Fermentation much like that used for beer produced lactic acid and its derivatives, and further treatment yielded caproic acids. With further processing, that was converted into decane, a primary ingredient of gasoline and jet fuel.

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As mentioned, decane and similar products aren’t very clean fuels (they produce CO2 when burned), but they still have a much higher energy density than, say, lithium batteries. As such, be the main fuel used in aviation for the foreseeable future, as jet planes need to be relatively light to get aloft.

For now, the process can only yield a few drops of biofuel, but the researchers claim the process is already relatively efficient, and with some more work, could possibly be made commercially feasible. Unlike corn, grass grows pretty much anywhere, so the ability to convert it into fuel on the cheap would be a huge step.
Source : Engadget

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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