Renewable gasoline: Coming to a station near you

When one hears the words "gasoline" and "diesel," people typically think about pollution and grimy industrial plants rather than clean energy and sustainability. However, the efforts of scientists working at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) are, according to a press release from the American Chemical Society (ACS), slowly moving toward a goal of renewable fossil fuels.

Through a process called Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IHH), which involves utilizing recycled plant material and biowaste to create a base compound that is later converted into a combustible fuel, GTI engineers have produced chemicals that are usable in machines, cars and aircraft.

Martin Linck, a researcher and scientist for GTI, spoke before a recent ACS conference about the benefits of the new technology, stating that commercial-scale industrial plants are not outside the realm of possibility.

"We are moving steadily toward having multiple demonstration-scale facilities in operation by 2014, with each facility producing a range of 3,500-17,500 gallons of fuel a day from non-food plant material. We will be designing commercial-scale facilities that could produce as much as 300,000 gallons per day from the same kinds of feedstocks," Linck told the attendees.

He went on to describe the benefits of the new technology, including the fact that rather than creating an intermediary substance that produces potentially hazardous byproducts, such as those made in the bioethanol process, IHH results in ready-to-use power sources. The renewable gasoline, if fully realized, could produce 90 percent less carbon dioxide than comparable fossil fuels.

While these energy-creation techniques are still in their infancy, they could dramatically alter the U.S. fossil fuel market and promote the evolution of a truly low-impact society.

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