This week, a renewable fuel company based in Pasadena, Texas, announced 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.
Company executives said that the only remaining step, refining the oil into products, would involve standard technology. The hard part, developing a proprietary technology that involves rearranging the molecules of biomass into an oil in a matter of moments, has already been developed.
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.