Bio-Oil: Growing Your Own Petroleum Substitute

We've shown you how to make your own biodiesel before, and now there's a way to make oil, too (sort of). Bio-oil, more specifically, made from sawdust, wood chips, or just about any organic matter. Wired has a story about some researchers who, hoping to ease America's addiction to oil, have developed a process to create bio-oil that can be processed into fuels and chemicals. Bio-oil is produced through a process called pyrolysis, in which organic scrap materials are finely ground and heated at 400 to 500 degrees Celsius, without oxygen. In just two seconds, about 70 percent of the material vaporizes and is condensed into bio-oil; the end result looks surprisingly similar to petroleum. Though bio-oil is chemically very different from petroleum crude, it can be converted into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as "syngas," which can be processed into a high-grade hydrocarbon fuel, such as automotive diesel. Alternatively, the syngas can be combined with steam to produce pure hydrogen, which could be a handy helping hand for the burgeoning hydrogen economy. Looks a little complicated for a typical DIY, weekend project, but cool nonetheless. Much more at ::Wired via ::Make and ::Jalopnik

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