Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he was shootin at some food,
And up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
According to this story on Wired News, bio-oil could be the new crude – “a thick black liquid that could become a green substitute for many petroleum products.”
Bio-oil can be made from almost any organic material, including agricultural and forest waste like corn stalks and scraps of bark. Converting the raw biomass into bio-oil yields a product that is easy to transport and can be processed into higher-value fuels and chemicals.
“It is technically feasible to use biomass for the production of all the materials that we currently produce from petroleum,” said professor Robert C. Brown, director of the Office of Biorenewables Programs at Iowa State University.
The article sources two companies – Ensyn Group, Inc. of Delaware and DynaMotive in Canada – that are making commercial products using bio-oil.
The biomass is converted into bio-oil through a process called pyrolysis, in which the organic scrap materials are finely ground and heated at 400 to 500 degrees Celsius, without oxygen. In just two seconds, about 70 percent of the material vaporizes and is condensed into bio-oil — a dark liquid resembling espresso that contains more than a hundred organic compounds.
Pyrolysis also produces a gas, which is burned to fuel the process, and carbon-rich soot called “char,” which can be burned as fuel, used as a soil fertilizer or processed into charcoal filters or briquettes.
Fascinating stuff. Y’all come back now, y’hear?
(Thanks to our website designer Robert Canales for the link to this story)