As people debate the conflict between food and fuel, entrepreneurs and scientists are giving us something even more precious than resolution of that debate: options and alternatives. Here, Biofuels Digest takes a look at 6 technologies and strategies that address food vs fuel, and offer alternatives.
1. Feedstock diversification.
In biofuels, it is more talked about – the push beyond corn starch and cane sugars into corn stover, sugarcane bagasse, woods and forestry residues, animal wastes, algae, municipal solid waste, and energy grasses as well as new inedible oilseed crops such as jatropha, carinata and camelina.
But there are opportunities for food manufacturers as well.
Take for instance Solazyme Roquette Nutritional’s whole algalin flour. According to the makers, it provides “an outstanding solution for improving nutritional profiles in many applications, such as bakery, beverages and frozen desserts. Acting as a whole food ingredient, Whole Algalin Flour is very low in saturated fat, is trans-fat free, cholesterol free, and considerably reduces calories, as well as provides fiber and protein, while providing the same overall mouth feel and consistency as a full fat food.”
Much of the underlying problem of food vs fuel is that multiple sectors have fallen in love with the same feedstock – frankly, that’s Nestle’s problem, and the problem of many biofuels producers. If the US is addicted to oil, many producers are addicted to corn or cane, and both sides benefit from diversifying where possible.
2. Increasing yield per ton.
There are low-yield biofuels technologies – and high-yield, in terms of productivity per ton of biomass. At the high end, consider for example Coskata’s 105 gallons per ton, and Zea Chem’s 135 gallon per ton yields. Compared to a technology ...