Readers' letters

07 January 2010 16:22  [Source: ICB]

One reader of our Green Chemicals blog toasts the environment with new enzymes reducing the carbon footprint of beer. Another comments on microbial contamination in fuel systems.

GREAT TASTE, LESS EMITTING
Editor's note: The following comment was in response to a December 31 posting on Doris de Guzman's ICIS Green Chemicals blog, titled A drink to ours and earth's health in 2010!"

The Clim8Beer is the first commercial example of a beer made from unmalted barley and Novozymes' Ondea Pro enzyme. Not only does will this reduce the carbon footprint of beer production but enable brewers to use barley in regions that depend on imported malt, thus supporting local farming.

In the future, consumers might even get beer where the barley origin becomes part of the taste profile - just like wines are linked to specific regions.

Soren Hojfeldt Lund, Regional Marketing Manager, Novozymes North America, Franklinton, North Carolina, US

MICROBIAL WARFARE
In the "From our own correspondent" section in the November 23, 2009 issue of ICIS Chemical Business, Fred Seelig comments on his surprise at discovering that his Volkswagen Jetta's diesel fuel system had become fouled with algae.

In reality, microbial infections in fuel systems ranging from refinery bulk storage tanks to vehicle tanks has been a well documented phenomenon for more than 100 years.

In the days of leaded gasoline, the tetraethyl lead (TEL) inhibited microbial growth. However, now that TEL's history, we find that gasoline is even more susceptible than diesel.

A 2001 US Federal Highway Administration report estimated that corrosion in petroleum retail underground storage tanks in the US caused $1.4bn/year (€972m/year) in damage.

An estimated 50% of this damage is due to microbially influenced corrosion. This damage estimate does not include the costs associated with fuel dispenser and vehicle filter plugging and fuel deterioration.

Since 1991, I have chaired ASTM's Fuel Microbiology Task Force under Subcommittee D.02.14 Fuel Stability and Handling. The Energy Institute also has a fuel microbiology subcommittee.

Both organizations have developed a number of publications to help fuel industry stakeholders understand the economics of uncontrolled microbial contamination in all grades of unleaded fuels.

Still, many are surprised that petroleum products and biofuels are susceptible to microbial attack, and that the very design of fuel systems is conducive to both contamination by and proliferation of microorganisms. ASTM Manual 47 Fuel and Fuel System Microbiology: Fundamentals, Diagnosis and Contamination Control provides an excellent, and readable introduction to the topic.

Frederick Passman, PhD, president, Biodeterioration Control Associates, Princeton, New Jersey, US


By: Joseph Chang
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