KiOR Turning Wood Chips Into Gasoline

KiOR, a renewable fuel start-up based in Pasadena, Tex., said Thursday that it had produced a crude oil made from wood chips at a plant in Mississippi and expected to refine it into gasoline and diesel and sell it commercially later this month. That would be a first for the cellulosic biofuel sector. In a […]

KiOR, a renewable fuel start-up based in Pasadena, Tex., said Thursday that it had produced a crude oil made from wood chips at a plant in Mississippi and expected to refine it into gasoline and diesel and sell it commercially later this month. That would be a first for the cellulosic biofuel sector.

In a conference call with investment analysts, company executives would not say just how much they had made at the conversion plant, in Columbus, Miss., or how well it was running. But they said the remaining step, refining the oil into products, would involve standard technology.

They said they had already accomplished the hard part, developing a proprietary technology that involves rearranging the molecules of biomass into an oil in a matter of moments. In nature, it takes millions of years.

If the oil from low-value wood chips is refined into products like gasoline and diesel, which are expensive and heavily supported by government policy, that would be a major milestone in the history of renewable energy. This kind of renewable energy, generally known as cellulosic biofuel because it comes from woody, non-edible sources, has lagged behind areas like solar cells and wind turbines.

From The New York Times: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/turning-wood-chips-into-gasoline/

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