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About this video

Using a community of fungus and genetically modified E. coli, a Michigan Engineering professor has developed a way to turn corn stalks and leaves into biofuel. The process breaks down waste plant materials into a sugar, which is then turned into isobutanol. Professor Nina Lin and her team argue that their isobutanol could be better than ethanol and other biofuels because it can be dropped into the fuel tank or pipeline without any disruption or corrosion. Gallon for gallon, isobutanol also gives off 82 percent of the heat energy gasoline provides when burned, compared to ethanol’s 67 percent.

Lin and her team hope their solution will be a more efficient alternative to existing biofuels like ethanol, particularly because it uses waste rather than the food itself. In addition, they believe that the methods they are developing could also be adapted to make generating other biofuels more efficient.

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MconneX - Using corn stalks for better biofuels

8/19/2013

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Michigan Engineering Professor Nina Lin and her team have developed a more efficient and less wasteful biofuel that uses corn stalks and leave waste to create isobutanol.

Michigan Engineering Professor Nina Lin and her team have developed a more efficient and less wasteful biofuel that uses corn stalks and leave waste to create isobutanol.

 


About the Professor

Nina Lin, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications and MarketingNina Lin is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. Her research group, The Lin Group (http://www.engin.umich.edu/dept/che/research/lin/), aims to unearth fundamental mechanisms underlying the diverse and complex functions of biological networks, and to engineer them for developing biotechnologies, through integrated mathematical modeling, computer simulation and wet-lab experiments.

About Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Eight academic departments are ranked in the nation's top 10 -- some twice for different programs. Its research budget is one of the largest of any public university. Its faculty and students are making a difference at the frontiers of fields as diverse as nanotechnology, sustainability, healthcare, national security and robotics. They are involved in spacecraft missions across the solar system, and have developed partnerships with automotive industry leaders to transform transportation. Its entrepreneurial culture encourages faculty and students alike to move their innovations beyond the laboratory and into the real world to benefit society. Its alumni base of nearly 70,000 spans the globe.

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