September 2007

Special Report: Refining Developments

Biofuels: What is beyond ethanol and biodiesel?

Emerging technologies to produce gasoline and diesel from renewable biological resources will reshape the agricultural, chemical and refining industries

Cascone, R., Nexant

Ethanol made by fermenting sugars from sugarcane or grains is the primary liquid renewable fuel used today—blended or neat (100%). Biodiesel (vegetable oil methyl ester) is the other, smaller volume renewable fuel, also used blended or neat. With this great start, the next step is to ferment ethanol (or butanol) from cellulose-derived sugars, to hydrocrack natural oils and fats into diesel-range hydrocarbons, and to gasify biomass and catalytically synthesize both diesel and gasoline fuels (thermochemical platform). Biofuels have social-political drivers. Globally, biofuels developments are primarily driven by three fundamental policy considerations: Rural development

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