In the "Tohoku Reconstruction Next Generation Energy Research and Development Project", research is being conducted to utilize the oil produced from organic matter contained in sewage by using algae called Aurantiochytrium.As part of this, Professor Keiichi Tomishige of Tohoku University succeeded in actually producing fuel such as gasoline from the oil produced by algae.It also clears the problem of producing highly toxic by-products, which was a problem with existing methods.

Algae, which are microorganisms floating in water, photosynthesize and decompose organic matter in water to live.In recent years, it has been discovered that certain algae produce petroleum-like components from these organic substances.However, oils made by algae have limited uses because they are chemically made up of long chain molecules.To make an oil that can be used as fuel, this long chain must be cut to create small molecules.Catalysts play an important role in the chemical reaction that turns oil into fuel.A catalyst is a substance that assists in a chemical reaction, and although it does not change itself, it plays an indispensable role in industrially producing useful substances.Professor Tomishige's group succeeded in developing a new catalyst by making a metal called ruthenium into a size of 1 nanometer or less and sprinkling it on a substance called cerium oxide.The fuel produced using this catalyst has good chemical characteristics such as molecular length and shape as gasoline or jet fuel, and no highly toxic by-products are generated.

If gasoline or jet fuel is produced from sewage, not only the lives of Japanese people but also the fuel situation around the world may change significantly.Nowadays when energy problems are being called out, I think we can hear very bright news if further research is carried out and it can be put into practical use.

Source:[Tohoku University] Professor Keiichi Tomishige and Associate Professor Yoshinao Nakagawa of the Department of Applied Chemistry develop a new conversion method for transport fuel of algae-produced oil.

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