Through a two-stage process for turning biomass-derived sugar into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor James Dumesic and colleagues have been able to transform sugar into a liquid transportation fuel that has a 40 percent greater energy density than ethanol.
According to Professor James Dumesic:
“Currently, ethanol is the only renewable liquid fuel produced on a large scale. But ethanol … has relatively low energy density, evaporates readily, and can become contaminated by absorption of water from the atmosphere. It also requires an energy-intensive distillation process to separate the fuel from water
Not only does dimethylfuran have higher energy content, it also is not soluble in water and therefore cannot become contaminated by absorbing water from the atmosphere.
DMF is stable in storage and, in the evaporation stage of its production, consumes one-third of the energy required to evaporate a solution of ethanol produced by fermentation for biofuel applications.”