I just got this email from Shell announcing their successful start-up of the world’s first demonstration plant converting plant sugars into gasoline and gasoline blend components (instead of ethanol) in Wisconsin, USA.
The demo plant has the capacity to produce up to 38,000 litres/year (10,000 gal/year), which will be used for engine and fleet testing. It will use Virent’s patented BioForming® platform technology, which uses catalysts to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules like those produced at a petroleum refinery. Feedstocks that can be used for the plant include corn stover, wheat straw, sugarcane pulp aside from the conventional feedstock such as wheat, corn and sugarcane.
Shell says the new biofuel can be blended with gasoline in high concentrations for use in standard gasoline engines. This means no need for specialized infrastructure, engine modifications, and blending equipment necessary for the use of gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol.