Canadian researcher develops method to produce methane from cellulosic material faster and cheaper

July 12, 2017 |

In Canada, new research from a professor of engineering at UBC’s Okanagan Campus might hold the key to biofuels that are cheaper, safer and much faster to produce. Starting with materials commonly found in agricultural or forestry waste — including wheat straw, corn husks and Douglas fir bark–she compared traditional fermentation processes with their new technique and found that Douglas fir bark in particular could produce methane 172 per cent faster than before.

The new process pretreats the initial organic material with carbon dioxide at high temperatures and pressures in water before the whole mixture is fermented, she explained. The new pretreatment process uses equipment and materials that are already widely available at an industrial scale, so retrofitting existing bioreactors or building new miniaturized ones could be done cheaply and easily.

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Category: Research

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