Process ups biodiesel efficiency

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison have shown that it is possible to convert biomass materials like corn into fuel that could be used in diesel engines in a way that automatically separates the fuel from water. "This is a new process to produce liquid fuels from biomass," said James Dumesic, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin. Because no energy is required to separate the fuel from water, the process has a relatively high overall energy efficiency. The fuel could eventually be blended with diesel fuel produced from petroleum sources to reduce oil needs, according to Dumesic. The process could also eventually produce diesel fuel that does not have to be blended with petroleum-based fuel, he said.