Royal Dutch Shell and Wisconsin-based bioscience firm Virent Energy Systems are teaming to develop what they said will be a “biogasoline” made from plant material, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The companies say biogasoline can be made from non-food crops like switchgrass or agricultural waste like sugar-cane pulp, while the industry’s existing infrastructure can be used to transport and store it, the newspaper reported.
The new fuel could potentially be used on conventional gasoline engines, which wouldn’t require modifications to accommodate the new system. The companies said the material’s cost and time to market is still unknown, and it could also “adversely” impact the existing ethanol industry.
The newspaper said biogasoline could be a breakthrough, as it has a higher energy content and is more fuel-efficient than ethanol.
Virent officials told the newspaper that their results so far “fully justify accelerating commercialization of this technology.”
Shell’s vice president of future fuels and CO2 said the technology could be cost-competitive.