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Shell venture yields petrol from sugar

Financial Times

By Ed Crooks
Published: March 26 2010

Royal Dutch Shell is turning sugar and water into small quantities of synthetic petrol at a joint venture with a US technology company, it has announced.

Virent Energy Systems, based in Wisconsin, has been producing about two thirds of a barrel per day of its “biogasoline” from a demonstration plant.

Shell and Virent now plan to have a design for a commercial-scale plant by the end of the year, with hopes of possible production in 2015-16.

Shell has several joint ventures working on advanced biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol, and in February set up a $12bn joint venture with Cosan of Brazil to produce and distribute ethanol and sugar.

Luis Scoffone, Shell’s vice president for alternative energies, said it was too early to tell which technologies would be successful in the long term.



Shell opens biopetrol pilot plant
25 March 2010

The Netherlands-based energy major Shell has started up its biopetrol demonstration facility in Madison, Wisconsin, US.

The plant is the outcome of a joint biopetrol research and development effort between Shell and Wisconsin’s Virent Energy Systems.

The plant is billed as the world’s first demonstration plant converting plant sugars into petrol and petrol blend components as an alternative to ethanol.

The plant has the capacity to produce up to 10,000 gallons of the fuel each year, which will be used for engine and fleet testing.

The new biofuel can be blended with petrol in high concentrations for use in standard petrol engines. The new product has the potential to eliminate the need for specialised infrastructure, engine modifications, and blending equipment necessary for the use of petrol containing more than 10% ethanol.

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