Bioethanol is so last year. Biomass Magazine (yes, there really is such a publication) reports the latest research in biofuels is directed at producing "green hydrocarbon fuels.' While biodiesel is becoming relatively commonplace, it's based on oils derived from plants and animal fats. Green hydrocarbon fuels are second-generation biofuels made from the same biomass materials used for bioethanol, with several advantages. Since they're chemically identical to the petroleum-based fuels, they carry the same amount of energy. Unlike ethanol, no vehicular modifications are required, AND they can use the current fuel delivery infrastructure. The down side: the process to produce the fuels is much more complex than either petroleum or ethanol production, requiring the conversion of the biomass to bio-oil before the refining process can begin. Researchers are working to simplify the solution, but it'll still be a few years before there'll be a bountiful supply of biogas– at least the kind that isn't produced by a diet of burritos and beer.
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