New Technology Foresees Trees, not Grain, in the Tank

Linked with Biofuels under attack as world food prices soar.

Published on Spiegel online, english edition, by Christian Wust, April 15, 2008.

Conventional biofuels like rapeseed oil and ethanol are ecologically problematic and threaten food supplies. Now a Germany company says it has the solution: an advanced fuel made from wood and other non-food biomass.

The facility is fairly small. And even if all goes smoothly, its production will also be fairly modest – just 13,500 metric tons of diesel fuel a year as compared with Germany’s annual consumption of 30 million tons. Still, this tiny refinery in the eastern German town of Freiberg has managed to attract a number of highly prominent visitors, including the CEOs and leading researchers of both Mercedes and Volkswagen …

… Correcting First-Generation Mistakes: Production levels are simply too low when fuels are derived exclusively from grains and tubers. The environmental benefits have been limited, and may actually do more harm than good. Plus, biofuel doesn’t sit quite right with many engines. All of this has been known, and largely ignored, for years …

… It took Blades a little over a year. In the summer of 2005, Shell acquired a stake in the company. The oil corporation contributed a key component in the refining process, the Fischer-Tropsch technology, which converts the synthesis gas into a BTL (biomass-to-liquid) fuel.

Researchers at the oil conglomerate appear to be completely convinced: �BTL is a dream fuel,� says Wolfgang Warnecke, CEO of Shell Global Solutions in Hamburg, “the best of all the biofuels” … (full long text).

Comments are closed.