photo: Katie Blanch
There have been a couple of developments recently from companies trying to turn feedstocks normally used to produce ethanol or biodiesel into gasoline instead. The obvious advantage of such a development is that the current fuel distribution system as well as the millions of automobiles, motorcycles and trucks already on the roads could be used as is. Towards that end, Bakersfield, California-based Byogy is the latest company to tout its biomass-to-gasoline process.
Biomass Turned Into Gasoline Cheaply
Developed in conjunction with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Byogy's claims its process can convert a wide range of biomass feedstocks directly into "Byolene", a 95-octane gasoline substitute at a cost of $1.70-2.00 per gallon. Wide Variety of Feedstocks
Byogy states that the process is designed to run on non-food feedstocks such as garbage, biosolids from wastewater treatment plants, lawn clippings, food waste, and livestock manure, in addition to non-food/feed crops grown for fuel purposes.
Initially, Byogy says it intends to use municipal waste in its first plant, which it hopes to have online with two years. By 2022 Byogy says it hopes Byolene can meet 2% of the nation's transportation fuel demand, and hopes to build an additional 200 biorefineries to do so.
The "Holy Grail" of Biofuels
Daniel L. Rudnick, Chief Executive Officer of Byogy:
Our plan is to produce two-and-a-half billion gallons or more of carbon neutral renewable gasoline per year, said. We are positioning ourselves not only to handle the opportunity biomass waste streams that are available today, but also the sustainable biomass energy crops of the future. This green substitute for conventional gasoline is the Holy Grail of all biofuels.
Do We Really Want Everlasting Life For Interstate Highways?
I don't want to overly poo-poo this development, because it is certainly interesting and a step in the right direction as far as greener fuels are concerned. However, as I said the last time someone announced a bio-gasoline which would allow us to just keep on trucking, albeit from a more green fuel source, I'm not so sure we ought to rush to perpetuate a transportation and civic infrastructure that is dependent on the automobile for its existence. Greater changes are required in the way we move goods around than simply switching fuels.