Sweet liquid transport

James Dumesic and his research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a potentially sweet solution to compromised oil supplies that side-steps the inefficiency problem of using bioethanol for fuel. They have developed a two-stage process for turning sugar derived from biomass into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), a compound that can be used in liquid transportation fuel. DMF has an energy density 40% higher than ethanol. Bio-DMF has other advantages over bioethanol, it is less volatile and insoluble in water, for instance. Moreover its production and purification for use as liquid fuel uses about one third of the energy required to distil bioethanol into a useable form.