biofuels analysisAfter yesterday’s hugely successful biofuels webinar (link to webinar which is now available on-demand), the topic has been on my mind a bit, and after receiving notice about a recent biofuels research article plus finding an interesting poster, I thought the items would make an interesting blog post.

This Canadian biofuels study using ion chromatography (IC) was published on the Applied and Microbiology website and is titled, Characterization of Xylan Utilization and Discovery of a New Endoxylanase in Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum through Targeted Gene Deletions. The researchers have identified a gene in rice plants whose suppression improves sugars to make biofuels. The study used one of our ion chromatography columns. (Note that only the abstract of the study is free.)

The poster, Determination of Anions in Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles Using Ion Chromatography with Suppressed Conductivity Detection, (downloadable PDF) was presented at the IICS conference earlier this and was very well received. Distillers grains are a coproduct of the fuel ethanol process and have been used as alternative feed in ruminant diets since the early 1900s because the distiller grains provide three times the amount of nutrients available from grain alone. The requirement to monitor the nutritional composition of distiller grains comes from the fact that it can vary from batch to batch.

By the way, another interesting point is that, in 2011, ethanol producers supplied approximately 39.4 million metric tons of livestock feed–double the amount produced in 2006.

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The poster presents a simple and accurate approach for determining water-soluble anions (chloride, sulfate, and phosphate) present in dried distillers grains with solubles in less than 10 min using one of our ion-exchange IC columns (Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS11 column) on our mid-level IC system (Thermo Scientific Dionex ICS-2100 Integrated Reagent-Free IC (RFIC) system). The data analysis was done using our Chromatography Data System (CDS) software (Thermo Scientific Dionex Chromeleon CDS software version 7.1). The method demonstrates excellent peak shape, linearity, accuracy, precision, and detection limits in the low μg/L range.

Lastly, I thought this University of California at Berkeley calculator for calculating biomass feedstock cost and profitability (downloadable PDF) would a good tool for our biofuel customers!

Let us know if you are looking for a specific biofuels application in the Comments box below: our application chemists will be pleased to hear from you.