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Development of an improved biofuel

 

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, have engineered a carbon-neutral biofuel, called butanol, that is more environmentally friendly than gasoline and more energy efficient than ethanol.

Chang:            Ethanol is not ideal in terms of the energy density. It's also volatile which means it evaporates from your car. In addition, because it picks up water, it corrodes engines and pipelines.

Narrator:        Researcher Michelle Chang altered the process that is typically used to engineer butanol, which then allowed her to grow the fuel at much higher yields than before. The result is that this newly improved biofuel can be blended with gasoline at higher volumes, and can be used in existing cars without additives or other modifications.

Chang:           So that makes it very important because it doesn't require people to go out and build or buy new things. The hope is to replace the actual fuel that's sold so that people can use a pre-existing transportation network or the cars that they already have.            

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.