The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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The Girls Who Code club met together in Sierra Hall, on Friday, Sept. 15, in Northridge, Calif. Club members played around with a program to create a virtual game.
The CSUN club that’s encouraging women in STEM
Miya Hantman, Reporter • September 18, 2023

CSUN’s Girls Who Code club is just one of many across many campuses and countries, including 110 in...

Students form a crowd for DJ Mal-Ski on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023 in Northridge, Calif.
Matador Nights carnival makes a splash at the USU
Ryan Romero, Sports Editor • September 21, 2023

The University Student Union hosted “Matador Nights” on Sept. 8 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The event...

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock by FiledIMAGE.
Women’s Soccer has Closed the Competitive Gap
Luis Silva, Reporter • September 19, 2023

There is no longer a significant competitive gap in the sport of women’s soccer. There is a brighter...

The line for concert merchandise on the second night of The Eras Tour in Paradise, Nev., on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
My experience at The Eras Tour
Miley Alfaro, Sports Reporter • September 18, 2023

It’s been a long time coming. I began watching The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift’s ongoing concert trek,...

Within the Oaxacan town of Asuncion Nochixtlan, we find my mother’s birthplace, Buena Vista. Photo taken July 29, 2023.
I Love Being Mexican
September 12, 2023
A student holds up a sign during a rally outside of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2023.
CSU board approves tuition increase amid protests
Trisha Anas, Editor in Chief • September 15, 2023

The California State Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a 6% tuition increase for the next five...

group of mena and women touching hands
Miracles In Action Restores Patients’ Lives and Actualizes their Potential

Green gasoline may become a reality

As the price of gasoline soars to new heights, one can’t help but wonder if that ever-present phrase “energy independence” is an actual possibility or some fairy tale that politicians throw out in order to gain supporters.

Certain technologies, like the creation of biodiesel made from corn or soy, were at first hailed as cutting-edge solutions to our addiction to fossil fuels. Now they seem outdated and downright harmful.

Luckily, there are people out there willing to tackle the problem – just not necessarily in time to save our wallets any time soon. Some of these new discoveries, however, may be worth some amount of optimism.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered how to create “green gasoline” from plant cellulose, using sources like switchgrass and poplar trees.

The process of converting these plants into gas took just under two minutes, and the scientists and chemists who took part in the groundbreaking experiments feel that everyday cars and even jets will benefit from the new technology. The key is the use of plant cellulose from sustainable sources.

Switchgrass and poplar trees are more sustainable than corn or soy in that it takes very little energy to grow them or convert their components into fuels. Both corn and soy are notoriously difficult to convert to clean-fuel sources.

As large swaths of land in places like Brazil are cleared for the production of crops such as soy, the rainforest and other precious resources are being destroyed.

In the same way, lands in Southeast Asia are being cleared to make way for the production of palm oil, another source of fuel. These are hardly viable solutions to environmental degradation.

It has also come to light that corn ethanol may not be the clean-energy solution everyone hoped it would be. It takes so much energy just to produce the crop that any gains are totally negated by the time the ethanol reaches a gas tank.

The use of food sources as fuel also raises questions as millions of people the world over depend on these crops to feed themselves and their families. Raising crops to feed cars instead of people doesn’t make much sense.

Instead of growing crops to make fuel, researchers have turned to waste biomass which is naturally-occurring plants, trees, fungi, wood chips and other “plant carbohydrates”. These sources can be converted to something closely resembling traditional gasoline, but without the carbon emissions.

Burning biomass as fuel doesn’t create carbon dioxide as traditional fossil fuels do. Also, little to no heat is required to turn biomass into gasoline. Some heat may result from burning these new biofuels, but scientists feel that the heat could be trapped and used as a source of electricity, bringing the carbon footprint to zero.

As an added bonus, most cars won’t require the engine to be converted in order to use this type of biofuel. After biomass is converted into a fuel, the compounds formed so closely resemble gas that cars might not have to change that much in order to support the new fuels.

This new technology is not available yet, however. Scientists feel that another five to ten years of research is still needed to make it a truly viable solution. Other sources for the new biofuels are still under investigation.

Meanwhile, going to the gas station to fill up the tank yet again is a painful experience, and one that leaves almost everyone I know with a bitter feeling and a desire to buy a bicycle or a bus pass or something to alleviate the frustrations of spending a gazillion dollars at the pump.

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