Nanomaterials have the potential to improve the efficiency of biomass-based biofuel production as discussed in a review recently published in Materials Letters.
Study: A nanomaterials perspective for sustainable biofuels and bioenergy production. Image Credit: Corona Borealis Studio / Shutterstock.com
Bioenergy derived from biomass offers several distinct advantages. Researchers have been pushed to create alternative energy sources in response to the increasing demand for energy and the excessive use of fossil fuels.
Renewable energy solutions based on nanomaterials have improved the quality and quantity of biofuels and bioenergy production.
The traditional method of bioenergy needs a breakthrough with nanotechnology
Bioenergy is one of many different options that may help society meet its energy needs. It is a type of renewable energy obtained from organic elements called biomass, and can be used to make transportation fuels, heating, electricity and commodities.
Because of the negative effects of the overuse of fossil fuels on the ecosystem, bioenergy may play an important role as an alternative energy source. Biomass is the most common source of bioenergy.
However, early steps to convert biomass into biofuels, such as enzymatic hydrolysis, pretreatment, and biomass culture, may cause a large number of problems.
Nanomaterials have the potential to help solve the challenges associated with biomass sources for bioenergy conversion and storage.
Nanotechnology applications in all industrial sectors can enhance efficiency. The current focus involves creating new sources of energy production that will benefit the nation financially. Advanced nanomaterials have the potential to completely disrupt the energy economy and provide greater energy savings.
Fuel consumption can be reduced by the lightweight building material properties of nano components (corrosion-resistant mechanical components, lighter weight and nanoparticle fuels). Convertible bottles made of nanoscale components manage the flow of heat and light in buildings, reducing energy use.
Regarding the use of nanoparticles in bioenergy and biofuel applications, nano-additives in anaerobic digestion (AD) affect biogas generation. The use of nanomaterials for biogas synthesis is steadily expanding.
nanostructure in energy
Buildings, portable devices, and cars benefit from the use of nanoelectrodes and catalysts. The combination of nanostructured semiconductors and good boundary layer design allows waste heat to be used in automobiles and textiles. Electric cables and power lines based on nanotubes reduce energy loss during current transmission.
Conduction losses are also reduced when creating a superconducting material using nanotechnology methods. In the long term, power delivery via wireless technologies such as lasers and microwave ovens is a viable alternative.
The advantage of nanoparticles in bioenergy and biofuels
The researchers discovered that introducing low-grade CuO nanoparticles into a reactor containing anaerobic granular sludge has a long-term detrimental effect on methane formation, just as adding the same concentrations of CuO nanoparticles to the reactors in the short-term.
The effects of CuO nanoparticles and small-sized in the reactor on biogas production revealed that CuO nanoparticles have a greater negative impact on biogas generation than the nano-sized ZnO particles.
Nanotechnology can reduce energy consumption and future research
Esterification of organic and inorganic hybrids produced from oligosilicates (POSS) for use as dielectric oils and oil additives in transformers. The advantages of these tools include minimal energy consumption, enzyme reuse, and the ability to use a variety of starting materials.
On the other hand, lipase enzymes are rarely used in industries due to their high cost. Enzymes are decorated using stabilization techniques to give a high surface area to volume ratio and to bind the active site of their functional groups.
This adds to the overall stability. The stabilized nano-lipase has more activity than free enzymes due to its Brownian movement. Since the technologies are still in their early stages, further tests, applications and technical economic evaluation are required.
The limits of nanotechnology in bioenergy
However, there are some preliminary findings about nanomaterials such as petroleum distillates, the in vivo toxicity of nanoparticles, and the molecular scale mechanism of nanomaterials-protein interactions. It is clear that bioenergy based on nanotechnology needs further research to identify all options to replace energy based on fossil fuels in the following decades.
Continue reading: How are nanocatalysts used for environmental applications?
Pandey, M.; (2022). A nanomaterials perspective for sustainable biofuels and bioenergy production. Material messages. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167577X2200398?