Biofuels, biorefinaries

R&D on biofuels are really booming recently. There are a few C&EN articles dealing with this topics, such as -

Boon for Biofuels (July 9, 2007)

Sweet Routes To Sustainability (June 25, 2007)

The first article introduces recent moves of chemical and/or biotech companies on biofuels - the article shows the photo of oilseed (it looks like seeds of camellia (Tsubaki) to me, though), claiming that a joint venture formed by BP and D1 Oils is formed so that it is getting into biodiesel business.

The second article introduces the attempt to biorefinary process that convert sugars to fuel, using various kinds of catalyst. (s. a. chromium chloride, ionic liquid)

Recent Angew. Chem. also serves a minireview by Prof. B. Kamm in Germany.

Production of Platform Chemicals....

Yes, it is a good news there is an opportunity for us to do something - and I believe that petrochemical process technology can contribute a lot, as it has developed to be excellently energy efficient and environmentally benign, compared with chemical processes in general. (Sure? Ask Prof. Roger Sheldon!)

At the same time, I admit these technologies introduced in the articles above is so premature that Castro was right. I agree with the opinion of one of my collegue, saying "if you deal with lignin, that is a good news!".