Which BioFuel Produces the Least NOx?

There's more to environmental friendliness than carbon neutrality. And while biofuels certainly promise to reduce our world's carbon emissions, we've got to keep tabs on things like nitrous oxide emissions as well. This is exactly what folks at the University of Colorado and the USDA are doing.

Nitrous oxides (NOx) are greenhouse gases and contribute to poor air quality and smog. While all bio-fuels produce less NOx than fossil fuels, some are quite a bit better than others.

Gasoline produces 40% more NOx than corn and soy biofuels, 85% more than reed canary grass and 115% more than switch grass. Another, but somewhat underdeveloped source of biofuels, fast growing poplar trees, also hit the 115% mark.

So the lesson learned here is that we're just at the beginning of this journey. As cellulosic sources of ethanol become more economically viable, biofuels will become even more environmentally friendly.

::CNet Science Blog and ::ESA Press Release

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