What is a lignofuel?

This was the question I posed for myself after reading about an event called Lignofuels 2015 in Madrid this week. Foolishly I thought a quick visit to Google and the worldwide web and I would have the answer.

But no, it was not as simple as that; I could find lists of events where lignofuels were meta tagged, or formed the title, but no straightforward answer. So, I posed the question in different ways to try and find a definitive Wikipedia, or similar, definition that I could reference and use as the basis to answer my question. But no matter how I posed the question the results were always the same – lots of event titles but no definition that neatly summarised ‘A lignofuel is xxx…’

So, after trawling through at least 20 pages of Google search results and optimistic viewings of related web sites I decided to ask GIS’s Biomass expert, Roland Jansen, about this term and he gave me the literal answer – ligno is Latin for wood therefore lignofuels means fuels from wood – I should have spoken to Roland earlier and studied latin…

In my search the closest I had found to a definition was posts about Lignocellulosic biomass on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lignocellulosic_biomass)  and a WordPress blog on lignofuels (see link below).

Having read a little around the subject in my search for a definition my interest was piqued by lignocellulose so I continued down this route as a related extension to my original question. Lignocellulose is a term that refers to dry plant matter, which I had known as biomass, or to be more specific I should now know as lignocellulosic biomass; the most abundantly available raw material on Earth for the production of bio-fuels such as bio-ethanol.

I also learnt that there is a lot of research being undertaken at the moment to release the potential of lignocellulose to maximise its efficiency as a fuel. Much revolves around disconnecting the lignin from the cellulose to allow the sugars in the cellulose to ferment into a biofuel. Further detail on how that works is beyond my basic chemistry to add any value to what has already been written so if you are interested in further information this can be found on the wikipedia page above and from https://lignofuel.wordpress.com

However, as part of my research into lignofuels this morning I also watched a video about a Volvo project to fuel trucks using a bio-fuel called Dimethyl Ether (DME) – the results are very promising and show the potential for alternatives to fossil fuels and I look forward to more developments in this field and a day when our reliance on petrol and diesel will change.

Volvo reference: