Biofuels by Dr Umut Oğuz
Advanced Materials & Sustainable Manufacturing (AMSM): Research Group of METU NCC SEES
When Henry Ford designed his Ford's Model T. Ford, it was not gasoline what he had in his mind that the car would run on but ethanol. In his interview with New York Times in 1925 he stated; "The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumac out by the road, or from apples, weeds, saw dust — almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years." In 1898, Rudolph Diesel who invented the diesel engine showed that his new engine ran perfectly fine on peanut oil.
Although we depend heavily on fossil fuels for our daily energy needs, which include petroleum, coal, and natural gas, there are several reasons why we need to seek for alternative sources of energy. Due to their lack of renewability and their consumption rate being much faster than their formation, it is estimated that at the current consumption rate, the fossil fuels are going to expire in 40 to 50 years and the world will face potential shortages of petroleum. In addition, there are growing concerns about global climate change due to carbon dioxide release as a result of fossil fuel combustion and the damage it would cause to the entire ecosystem.
Our research interests lie in the mass spectrometry based proteomic analysis of biomass such as corn, cellulose (wood, grasses, or the inedible parts of plants), sugar cane, and algae in order to increase biofuel production.