Waste up in the air

Waste products from wood processing and pulp mills can be used to produce economically viable jet and diesel fuel, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Non-food biomass composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin together with vegetable oils are normally unsuitable for fuel production. However, the team has used acid hydrolysis and xylose dehydrogenation, aldol condensation, low temperature hydrogenation, and high temperature hydrodeoxygenation to generate a mixture of heavier alkanes suitable for these fuels in high yields and low cost. The work is at the early stages of development but could ultimately be commercialized as pressure on fossil fuel reserves increases.