CSIRO and Monash University have developed a chemical process that turns green waste into a stable bio-crude oil.
The bio-crude oil can be used to produce high value chemicals and
biofuels, including both petrol and diesel replacement fuels.
“By making changes to the chemical process, we’ve been able to
create a concentrated bio-crude which is much more stable than that
achieved elsewhere in the world,” says Dr Steven Loffler of CSIRO
“This makes it practical and economical to produce bio-crude in
local areas for transport to a central refinery, overcoming the high
costs and greenhouse gas emissions otherwise involved in transporting
bulky green wastes over long distances.”
The process uses low value waste such as forest thinnings, crop
residues, waste paper and garden waste, significant amounts of which
are currently dumped in landfill or burned.
“By using waste, our Furafuel technology overcomes the food versus
fuel debate which surrounds biofuels generated from grains, corn and
sugar,” says Dr Loffler.
“The project forms part of CSIRO’s commitment to delivering cleaner
energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving technologies
for converting waste biomass to transport fuels.”
The plant wastes being targeted for conversion into biofuels contain
chemicals known as lignocellulose, which is increasingly favoured
around the world as a raw material for the next generation of
Lignocellulose is both renewable and potentially greenhouse gas
neutral. It is predominantly found in trees and is made up of
cellulose; lignin, a natural plastic; and hemicellulose.
CSIRO and Monash University will apply to patent the chemical
processes underpinning the conversion of green wastes to bio-crude oil
once final laboratory trials are completed.
Source : CSIRO Australia. February 4, 2008.