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Researchers find potential key for unlocking biomass energy

from Michigan State University News

Pretreating non-edible biomass — corn leaves, stalks or switch grass — holds the keys for unlocking its energy potential and making it economically viable, according to a team of researchers led by Michigan State University. The team of researchers identified a potential pretreatment method that can make plant cellulose five times more digestible by enzymes that convert it into ethanol, a useful biofuel. "By using an ammonia-based solvent, we were able to pull a lever and flip the entire cellulose crystal from one structure to another, one that's much easier to break down," said Shishir Chundawat, a postdoctoral researcher. more

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