In Massachusetts, Amherst researchers have discovered a small molecule, called α-cyclodextrin, that behaves the same as cellulose when it is converted to biofuel. Studying this ‘mini-cellulose’ molecule reveals for the first time the chemical reactions that take place in wood and prairie grasses during high-temperature conversion to biofuel.
Using the faster computer simulations, they can track the conversion of wood all the way to the chemical vapor products. These reactions include creating furans, molecules that are important for the production of biofuels.
More background on the story from the Digest