Mini-Science 2011 – Biofuels: sustainable energy as the oil runs out?

Mini-Science logoAt the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evening’s presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Donald Smith’s lecture “Biofuels — sustainable energy as the oil runs out?” (April 6, 2011).

Q: Can we make a battery using biochar?

A: You could probably use biochar as an electron source for a fuel cell, but I don’t think it could be used for anything like a conventional battery.

Q: Pulp and paper plants are closing down in Canada. Why are they not converted to produce bio-fuels or are they?

A: So far they are not, but this would be a good idea. Conversion is expensive and the industry is one that tends to be conservative.

Q: What is washed coal and why is it considered a more efficient or better source of energy than coal?

A: Washing is part of the process of producing “clean coal”. It is not more efficient, but is supposed to be less environmentally damaging. So far this technology is not commercially available.

Please visit the Mini-Science website for more information about the lecture series.

Comments are closed.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.