Up in smoke [power biofuels]

Up in smoke [power biofuels]

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New information on how biofuels burn is paving the way to greener transport fuels, reports Rebecca Pool. While biofuels such as bioethanol and bio-diesel can offer a clean alternative to petroleum-based transport fuels, anxieties on risks to biodiversity or depleted food supplies have tarnished their green image. But amid the very public debate, the combustion chemistry of biofuels has been forgotten. What happens when these fuels burn, what pollutants are formed and are the fuels as environmentally-friendly as we think? The answers to such fundamental questions have been long known for hydrocarbon fuels, but when it comes to any biofuel, the level of understanding is a lot less. And this lack of knowledge threatens to slow industry take-up.

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