All around the world, scientists have been investing their energy and resources in finding a cheaper way of producing biofuels. It is essential that the process of converting sugar to alcohol is made efficient so that the end product can compete with fossil fuel. The process to achieve this objective is well known; however, the cost endured makes it less desirable than fossil fuel even if government subsidies are counted.
Finally, scientists have figured out a more feasible and efficient way of conducting a chemical reaction at the heart of most biological processes. This is a massive development for Bio-energy Market as it probably leads to the evolution of better ways to create biofuels from plants. It may also help address climate change as increased production of biofuels would decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The objective achieved by this discovery is a more feasible and simpler method to create the “helper modules.” These modules facilitate carbon in cells so that they can turn into energy. Helper modules are also referred to as co-factors. In their reduced forms, these cofactors are considered a key component of turning sugar received from plants into ethanol or butanol for fuels.
NADH and NADPH, two cofactors used, are both equally important to slow down cancer cells' metabolism, so much so that they have been a target for some cancers. However, the two cofactors are quite expensive. If the production cost could be cut by 50%, that would lead to biofuels gaining a lot of attraction when it comes to making flex fuels with gasoline. A way to do this could be by producing cheap butanol as the cost is mainly tied up in using two cofactors NADH and NADPH.
Scientists were aimed at creating reduced cofactors in the lab by building an electrode through layering copper and nickel. Both the elements are cheap and readily available. The newly built electrode empowered the team to recreate NADH and NADPH from their corresponding oxidized form.
The team also demonstrated how biomass could be converted to biofuels. They did this by using NADPH as a cofactor for the production of alcohol from another molecule. As both the cofactors form a crucial part of several energy conversion processes inside cells, the new discovery could be beneficial for other synthetic applications.
Scientists are optimistic about this development as it would be easier and cheaper to control the flow of electrons in some cancer cells. This might lead to potentially slowing down their growth and ability to metastasize. This creation might even lead to a decrease in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at an industrial level.
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