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Baverstam Newsletter Summary: Volume 9, Issue 4

Biofuels II

Biofuels face a more challenging market environment in 2009 with the drop in the oil price. This will probably bring the best of breed technology to the forefront but the sector remains heavily politicized. But there are major questions about the long term viability of using food based feedstocks and processes with low energy balance like corn ethanol. Hopefully, technology will offer better solutions in the near future. From a technical perspective, the development of second and third (algae derived) generation biofuels are of great interest, but face an uphill battle to reach the billions of gallons of production scale where they will have an impact on total hydrocarbon fuel consumption. Next generation biofuel technology involves processes to produce petroleum equivalent biofuels such as “green gasoline”, which is a fundamentally more attractive approach than having to re-engineer vehicles and dealing with concerns about fuel viscosity at low temperature. Alternatively, there is algae based “green crude” from which a variety of hydrocarbon fuel can be refined or process routes via green syngas.

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