Component 1#

Component 1: Technical Application's Background"

Task One: Prepare a 200- to 300-word history about the National Critical Technology (NCT) technical application your team has selected to solve a local or national problem.

One of the first inventors to convince the people of the use of ethanol was a German named Nikolaus August Otto. Rudolf Diesel is the German inventor of the diesel engine. He designed his diesel engine to run in peanut oil and later Henry Ford designed the Model T car which was produced from 1903 to 1926. This car was completely designed to use hemp derived biofuel as fuel. However, with the exploration of huge supplies of crude oil some of the parts of Texas and Pennsylvania petroleum became very cheap and thus lead to the reduction of the use of biofuels. Most of the vehicles like trucks and cars began using this form of fuel which was much cheaper and efficient. Therefore the usage of ethanol as a fuel wasn't very popular due to its high price.

In recent days, pollution has been a major problem for decades. A major contributor to this is the emission of smoke from cars and other vehicles.

As a solution to this, many new solutions such as solar power and wind power as well as hybrid cars were introduced in market.Due to their high price of purchase, they are not widely used. This discovery of hybrid cars still didn't contribute to decreasing the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere nor does it reduce the rate at which the ozone layer is delpleting at

Scientists realized that if they replace the fuel used in the cars with a eco- friendly fuel which is sold as a cheaper price but is more efficient than petroleum, unlike the bio deisel machine created by Nikolaus August Otto, they could help in the reduction of emission

As a result to this discovery, scientists have developed a way to extract ethanol from animal feedstock or any plant with cellulosic biomass in it so that they can use it as a fuel for cars.

Research began in Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004 where scientists experimented on ethanol extraction from corn. When that became successful, Brazil and Mexico adopted these methods and are now one of the biggest bio- ethanol producers in the world.


In 2008, a company called Algenol, which is based in Florida, has started researching on ways to extract ethanol from Algae without actually killing it. Bio- Ethanol is usually obtained by harvesting algae, and later fermenting it. This created a loss in feedstock as well as in algae, which helps by breathing in carbon dioxide and releasing out oxygen.

In 2010, CTBE in Brazil have started their research in obtaining ethanol from sugarcanes. Soon, many companies, such as Chevron and Exon Mobile have started researching on obtaining Ethanol from various sources, some being potatoes, and switchgrass. Research is still being conducted and many new methods for bio- ethanol extraction have been made.

It is said that if Algenol's method works in obtaining ethanol from plants without killing them, then other companies such as Exonnmobile and Chevron will adopt this method to produce ethanol also

Task Two:Cite three detailed examples of research done in the past 3 to 5 years which focused on the NCT technical application your team selected. Include: the funding agency, the principal investigator's name, and the institution where the research is or was being conducted.

1) The National Laboratory of Science and Technology of Bioethanol(CTBE) in Brazil has been trying to obtain ethanol from sugarcane cellulose. The Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory and the National Biosciences Laboratory is the funding agency for this research.Research started in 2010. Currently research is being conducted on how to break the cellulose wall so that they could change the cellulose into ethanol.Prof. Marcos Buckeridge, at University of São Paulo, is both scientific director of CTBE and coordinator of this research.

2)The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is devoting significant resources to develop renewable, clean energy, and economically sustainable systems that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.- The funding agency is Sun Grant Institute of Excellence. They are currently researching on plant biomass in energy, chemical production and exploring biotechnological solutions to create economically advantageous cellulosic ethanol.With the principal investigator being Larry Walker, Professor of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University has contributed a lot of research to the improvement in the production of bio- ethanol over the past 3 years.

3) Georgia Institute of Technology has teamed up with Chevron who has spent up to $12 million in funding for research to make eco- friendly cellulosic ethanol production process that they say is more efficient than traditional methods and also suppresses the formation of carbon dioxide transportation fuels.The school has also partnered with Atlanta-based startup C2 Biofuels to aid them in research.


Task 3: Based on the research your team has done, explain how the NCT application chosen has advanced scientific knowledge.

Our NCT application, Renewable energy, has advanced scientific knowledge because it showed that there were other ways of obtaining energy other than burning fossil fuels. It lead to the invention of solar panels and wind mills. Also it gave eco- friendly alternatives to people. It lead to the discovery of cellulosic biomass and different tools used to extract this bio mass out of various sources. This also shows that cars don't have to be powered by petrol or deisel to run efficiently. They can also be powered by these eco- friendly fuels that reduce the amount of carbon emission into the air. Also, this has led to the invention of cars that run on solar power and also cars that are powered by these biomass fuels. It also shows that the rate at which the ozone layer is melting can be decreased just by using an eco- friendly source of energy

Adding to this, our NCT technical application has introduced eco- friendly fuels such as bio- ethanol and bio- diesel that weren't very well known before their discovery.