Paul Voosen

Post image for Cellulosic Biofuel: “No Eureka Moments” – Greenwire

Yesterday’s edition of Greenwire features an amazing column on cellulosic biofuels by reporter Paul Voosen. It’s got interviews with leading researchers, industrial history going back to WWII, science, economics, and the narrative suspense of a detective story.

Voosen’s main point: Despite substantial private and public investment, there have been “no Eureka moments” in the “long U.S. campaign” to scale up Nature’s digestive processes (found in fungi and the guts of termites, cows, dung beetles, and other fauna) to break down cellulose and create affordable alcohol fuels from prairie grasses, wood wastes, and other fibrous plant materials.

[click to continue…]

In yesterday’s Greenwire (subscription required), reporter Paul Voosen reviews of the efforts of various firms to develop commercially competitive motor fuel from two types of single-celled photosynthetic bugs — algae and cyanobacteria.

For several years, biofuel entrepreneurs and alt-energy gurus touted oil extracted from algae as the next big thing — abundant, cheap, home grown, hi-tech, carbon neutral. In addition, unlike corn-ethanol production, growing algae in ponds or bioreactors would not inflate grain prices or divert food from hungry mouths into gasoline tanks.

But this narrative increasingly looks like hype. Voosen summarizes: [click to continue…]