Shell, Virent to Develop Second-Generation BioGasoline

Virent, Shell, lab, biogasoline

[social_buttons] After one year of collaborative research, Shell and Virent Energy Systems announced they will be trying to produce a biogasoline directly from plant sugars—as opposed to producing ethanol—with the intention of offering a fuel that can be used at high ratios in standard gasoline engines.

Instead of processing sugars into ethanol via fermentation, Virent’s trademarked “BioForming” technology uses catalysts to convert the sugars into a biogasoline. Virent claims their fuel has the same hydrocarbon content as gasoline, and has a higher energy content than both ethanol and biobutanol, which gives it a greater fuel efficiency. Virent says they can also use non-food feedstocks, such as corn stover and switchgrass, to produce the fuel.

According to Virent’s website, the only feedstocks they’ve actually tested in the lab are glycerol, sorbitol, glucose, corn syrup, and sucrose.

Virent is also interested in producing sugar-based biodiesel, hydrogen, and propylene glycol from biodiesel waste-glycerol. Apparently, Virent already signed a deal with Shell in May 2007 to produce distributed hydrogen-generation systems for filling stations (sounds like InnovaTek’s announcement).

This has already been covered very well in the media. For more details, take a look here.

Source: Virent PR (Mar. 26, 08): Shell and Virent Announce Collaboration to Develop BioGasoline

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Switchgrass Could Displace 30% of US Petroleum Usage With 94% GHG Reduction

Photo Credit: Virent Energy Systems


In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.