Bioscience Engineers Turn Plant Waste into Gasoline

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Bioscience engineers developed a method to turn plant waste into gasoline, according to a study published on September 24, 2018.

This study was conducted by the bioscience engineers at KU Leuven, Belgium. Researchers were successful in converting sawdust into building blocks for gasoline in 2014. Using a chemical process, they were able to convert cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains, which can be used as an additive in gasoline. This cellulose gasoline is a second generation biofuel, according to the researchers.

Therefore, for the purpose of bio-refining, a chemical reactor was built by the researchers in their lab for small scale production of cellulose gasoline. However, large scale production of the same in industries was still a challenge. Researcher of this study has come up with a solution for this. He examined in which section of the existing petroleum refining process the cellulose is best added to the petroleum to obtain a strongly bio-sourced gasoline.

Professor Sels said that cellulose gasoline must be seen as a transitional phase. He further added, “Current consumption is too high to produce all gasoline from plant waste. However, our product does already offer the possibility of using greener gasoline while a large proportion of the vehicles on our roads still run on liquid fuel. In the future, we will remain dependent on liquid fuels, albeit to a lesser extent, and then they may indeed be fully bio-based. We therefore suspect that the industry will show interest in this process.”

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Cynthia Carrier is a graduate of Texas A&M, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Plains Gazette's entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Texas.