I still remember one of the first papers about the production of dimethylfuran (DMF) for liquid fuels from biomass-derived carbohydrates.
July 9th, 2024.
It is a bit windy today and the sun is not as warm as she used to be around this time of the year. People are smiling again and everyone is enjoying this cool weather. Finally some fresh air and nice temperatures! I am driving towards the local gas station, to refill the tank of my cabriolet car. In the back, my singing daughters are looking forward to get there. They know they will get a fresh apple at the gas station.
Since January this year, it is a standard present the fuel companies offer. For every €25 of fuel, you get a fresh apple for free! When I was young, we got a chewing gum or so. I think I would not have been happy with a bio-present at all.
But of course, times have changed.
I still remember one of the first papers about the production of dimethylfuran (DMF) for liquid fuels from biomass-derived carbohydrates. It was published in Nature, at the beginning of the summer in 2007. I do remember this because it was around that time that a lot of activities were organized to warn people about the global warming and to inform them about what they can do themselves to stop the warming of the Earth.
The article described a method to produce a renewable liquid fuel from fructose. This would overcome the chemical and physical limitations of ethanol (the only liquid bio-fuel produced in large quantities at that time). After reading this, I was amazed by the nice research these people did. It sounded really great and straight forward to me! Making fuel out of apples, wow!
Now, about 25 years later, almost every car uses hydrogen, electricity or DMF for “fuel”. And it definitely works, ‘cause we are having more and more chilly summer- evenings again. But it is a pity that we can not make as much apple cake as we want for those evenings, since apples became very expensive nowadays. But if that is the price we had to pay…
Ok, I am at the gas station. Have to go ‘cause my little princesses can not wait. Apple time again!
* Related article: Yuriy Roman-Leshkov, Production of dimethylfuran for liquid fuels from biomass-derived carbohydrates. Nature Letters Vol 447, 2007.