Most of the emphasis of biofuel synthesis has been on carbon-neutral programs. Put simply, the amount of carbon-dioxide [CO2] removed from the atmosphere, by the biomass crops, is equal to the amount of CO2 emitted by biofuel synthesis and resulting fuel combustion.
This process has already been put into widespread use with ethanol, which has found its way into 95% of the US gasoline supply, in concentrations of up to 85% ethanol / gasoline. Biodiesel also works on a similar principle, and is often found as a 20% blend. Biodiesel can be used up to 100% concentration in any diesel-powered vehicle.
Current biofuels, however, are still only carbon-neutral. Cool Planet Energy Systems [CPES] has recently unveiled some of its research which indicates that biofuel can indeed be carbon-negative. Carbon-negative biofuels actually remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than processing and combustion emit. This process could go a long way to realizing a reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels.
CPES’ proprietary thermomechanical process inputs biomass, such as wood chips, algae, and bioenergy crops such as giant miscanthus. The resulting gas streams can be catalyzed into usable fuels, such as synthetic jet fuel or even high octane biogasoline. Alone, this process is carbon-neutral, but when combined with long-term sequestering of the biochar, activated carbon, results in an additional 50% reduction in CO2 emissions.
CPES’ testing on their campus showed that running a 5% blend of the new fuel with gasoline had no significant impact on vehicle performance or emissions. Two cars driven about 2,500 miles were tested and found to be virtually identical in emissions testing.
In addition to CPES’ fuel being carbon-negative, it is also much cheaper to produce, which could mean that a gallon of synthetic, carbon-negative, biogasoline, could only cost $1.50 per gallon.
“By mass producing mobile, pre-fabricated micro-refineries that are easily transportable to the biomass source, we significantly reduce costs of feedstock transportation, which maximizes our overall capital efficiency. Each micro-refinery is one hundred times smaller than a typical oil refinery and can produce 10 million gallons of fuel per year; this puts us in the running to compete with oil at $50 a barrel,” said Howard Janzen, CPES’ President and CEO.