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Everyone from leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists to former President Bush is touting fuels created from biomass as a replacement for petroleum. But new technologies are needed to make this vision economically and environmentally feasible.


Better Bug to Make Cellulosic Ethanol

A new strain of bacteria could make cellulosic ethanol cheaper.

The Price of Biofuels

Making ethanol from corn is expensive. Better biofuels are years away from the gas tank. Farmers are reluctant to change their practices. But do we really have any alternative to biofuels?

Making Gasoline from Bacteria

A biotech startup wants to coax fuels from engineered microbes.

Creating Ethanol from Trash

Researchers find a way to make liquid fuels from waste cheaply and without the pollution produced by earlier methods.

Hydrogen from Algae

Genetically modified algae could be efficient producers of hydrogen and biofuels.

Termite Guts Could Boost Ethanol Efficiency

A metagenomic study could suggest ways to make cellulosic ethanol.

Breaking Ground on Cellulosic Ethanol

Commercial-scale plants are being built, but the fuel could still be too expensive to compete with corn ethanol.

BP's Bet on Butanol

Forget ethanol: it's hard to transport and gives bad mileage per gallon. Another alcohol, butanol, is a much better renewable fuel, says the president of BP Biofuels.

Oil from Wood

Startup Kior has developed a process for creating "biocrude" directly from biomass.

A Better Biofuel

A California biotech company is engineering microbes to produce cheap biofuels that could outcompete ethanol.

Creating Ethanol from Wood More Efficiently

Bacteria in termite guts could make ethanol from noncorn sources cheaper.

Smaller, Cheaper Biofuel Reactors

A new catalytic process efficiently converts biomass to syngas.

Boosting Cellulosic Biofuels

A catalytic process could improve thermochemical routes to ethanol.

Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens

A 1.4 million gallon demonstration-scale plant will use waste biomass to make biofuel.

Biofuels: Beyond Corn

Gene sequencing could help make more energy-efficient biofuels practical.

Alternative-Energy Spending Fizzles Out

Congress ends without funding research programs, as the United States falls behind in alternative technologies.

A New Biofuel: Propane

Propane chemically derived from corn could be used in heating and transportation.

Cellulosic Biofuels

Gregory Stephanopoulos explains challenges in converting biomass to biofuels.

Hydrogen Fuel from Formic Acid

A simple new process generates hydrogen for fuel cells.

Ethanol's Forecast

Rain and floods in the corn-growing Midwest could drive up the costs of producing the biofuel.

Cheaper, Cleaner Ethanol from Biotech Corn

The genetically-modified plants break down their own cellulose, making it possible to use waste biomass to produce ethanol.

Searching for Biofuels' Sweet Spot

California-based Amyris has used breakthroughs in synthetic biology to reinvent biofuels. To turn its technology into an industrial process, it has headed to the land of sugar: Brazil.

From Waste Biomass to Jet Fuel

Fuel made from waste by-products could lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Slow Going on Cellulosic Biofuels

ZeaChem starts construction in Oregon, but plans elsewhere have stalled or been scaled back.

Genes to Make Hydrocarbon Fuels

The startup LS9 reveals a discovery that could lead to biofuels that would work in conventional engines.

Jet Fuel from Plants

A way to get a high-energy fuel out of an abundant and renewable resource.



Jack Dorsey Talks Technology




Technology Review's primers on key emerging technologies.

Social Networks

These online communities are redefining how we find and share information, but will operators be able to assuage privacy concerns?

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