The government has earmarked NT$300 million (US$9.15 million) to facilitate research and development on biofuels such as gasohol and biodiesel as part of efforts to lower national consumption of fossil fuels, according to National Science Council Chairman Chen Chien-jen (
During an interview with CNA, Chen said the Council of Agriculture's research project focused on converting biodiesel from soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower, and that the government-run laboratories would begin R&D on producing gasohol -- a fuel mix containing gasoline and alcohol -- from sweet potatoes, a common local crop.
Sweet potatoes are rich in starch that can be easily transformed into ethanol, Chen said, adding that Taiwan currently had only a relatively small gasohol production capacity, and would need more government funding to meet demand.
Ever since the 1970s oil crisis, many countries have attempted to divert energy sources from fossil fuels to biomass energy and other renewable energies.
Currently, corn and soybean are the main sources of biofuels in the US, while flaxseed and rapeseed are used in Europe, sugar cane in Brazil and palm oil in Southeast Asia.
The main drawback in using biofuels is the cost -- roughly 5 percent higher than pure petroleum -- owing to the more costly conversion process and because production capacity has not reached an economy of scale.
About a year ago, authorities began evaluating rice straw, sweet potato and sugar cane to determine the best material for making biofuel.
Results showed sweet potato was the best -- it's easy to grow and the least expensive.
The results also suggested the future project to create sweet potato gasohol should focus on developing a specific strain that contains more starch in order to increase production efficiency.
According to the Executive Yuan, the biofuel project will employ some 220,000 hectares of fallow land for experimental production of gasohol and will create some 170,000 jobs in the agricultural industry.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of