Houston Matters

How Might Biofuels Reduce Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels?

Each Tuesday of this month Houston Matters has been exploring efforts here in Greater Houston to pursue alternative, renewable forms of energy, those that might someday help us to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. In past weeks, we discussed solar energy, hydrogen, and wind power. On this edition we talk about developments in biofuels, including ethanol. The corn-based […]

Each Tuesday of this month Houston Matters has been exploring efforts here in Greater Houston to pursue alternative, renewable forms of energy, those that might someday help us to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

In past weeks, we discussed solar energy, hydrogen, and wind power. On this edition we talk about developments in biofuels, including ethanol.

The corn-based fuel ethanol has been a part of the gas we use in our cars for years now – it’s long been seen as politically expedient to support, because it sounds clean – deriving fuel from corn, of which we have an abundance here in the US. But just how clean is it? What energy is expended to produce it? And what about other biofuels? We hear stories of people who use leftover grease from fast food restaurants to power their retrofitted cars. Could something like that ever work on a larger scale? We’re hearing a lot these days about a potential resurgence of diesel – is biodiesel an option to reduce our carbon footprint? And can you really derive energy from algae? Really?

We discuss these and other examples of biofuels, and what’s being researched, developed, and implemented here in Greater Houston, with Ken Brown of Biofuels Power Corp and Roman Wolff from Enhanced Biofuels. Then, we welcome your questions for Dr. Daniel Kainer, Professor and the Director of the Lone Star College Biotechnology Institute.

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