Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
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The productivity rates are, in prospect, remarkable. 15,000 gallons of renewable diesel per acre of deployed systems, per year. 25,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. At such productivities, the entire non-corn ethanol portion of the 36 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard target for 2022 could be produced from 840,000 acres, about 1300 square miles.
The costs are even more interesting. $20/barrel for diesel, $0.60 per gallon for ethanol – a fraction of the costs from biomass-based systems today, and a fraction of the cost of fossil-based oil today.
Barry D. Bruce, professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is turning the term "power plant" on its head. The biochemist and a team of researchers have developed a system that taps into photosynthetic processes to produce efficient and inexpensive energy.
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