Biofuels Production to Become More Energy Efficient

University of Sheffield scientists have found an innovative technology to produce renewable biofuels in an energy efficient method.  The scientists have been recognized with an international award for this innovative device.

At present, large amount of power is used for the production of biofuels and it becomes uneconomical when the process consumes more energy. The scientists have adapted a bioreactor for the manufacture of alternative renewable fuels to replace petrol and diesel fossil fuels. The technology found by the research team could help to produce alternative renewable fuels cost effectively, since it consumes less energy.

An air-lift loop bioreactor was devised by the research team that consumes 18% less energy to create microbubbles. Gas bubbles with less than 50 microns diameter in water are called microbubbles. In a bioreactor, these microbubbles are capable of transferring materials more quickly when compared to the larger bubbles that are produced using current bubble generation technology. This innovative technology found by the research team to create microbubbles in an energy efficient method has great potential for the production of biofuels economically.

Institution of Chemical Engineers has awarded the team with Moulton Medal in recognition of the discovery. The team has also received the Best Poster Award from the 6th Annual bioProcessUK conference, where the project was submitted as a poster.

Professor Will Zimmerman, from the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said that the University is pleased with the award given by the Institution of Chemical Engineers to the research team in recognition of its work to create microbubbles in an energy efficient method. He added that the new microbubble generation technology has great potential for saving energy.

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