Cellulosic Biofuel Still A Bit of a Damp Squib

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer

The First Ever Second-Generation Biofuel Plant established in Saxony, Germany opened April. As we reported previously, a German/Dutch joint venture named Choren claims they'll soon be converting wood scraps into 13k tons per year of "SunDiesel." The list of claims for this venture is long: 90 percent fewer CO2 emissions than conventional diesel, less dependence on oil imports and less disturbance to world food markets than conventional biodiesel. Meanwhile… Autobild (print edition) says complex production processes means it will cost about one Euro to produce a liter of SunDiesel. Choren responded to the news by pointing-out that their first plant is not "optimized for low production costs." What else, then? never mind. Choren is busy talking-up its large-scale plant, set to begin production in 2013 in Brandenburg, Germany. That new factory would/should/could produce around 200k tons/year of SunDiesel, at a cheaper price. That's enough fuel to satisfy 0.6 percent of Germany's demand for diesel.

Martin Schwoerer
Martin Schwoerer

More by Martin Schwoerer

Join the conversation
4 of 7 comments
  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on May 15, 2008

    So Autobild's critical analysis reveals that the biodiesel is 20% cheaper than conventional diesel? That would seem to be a good thing, no?

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on May 15, 2008

    If you want to know more about this process and how it differs from other bio-fuel processes go read "Visit to New Choren BTL Plant" by Robert Rapier at the R-Squared Energy Blog on May 03, 2008. Robert is a Chemical Engineer. The article has diagrams and links.

  • Menno Menno on May 15, 2008

    We could have been making most of our fuel here in America from a process developed several years ago, but nooooo. The oil companies have apparently bought out our politicians. Seems to me that making bio-oil (essentially what comes out the end of the plant is home heating oil / diesel fuel which can be cracked once in a refinery to make gasoline, too - as well as other valuable tid-bits). So what goes in to make this biofuel I'm referring to? Garbage. Offal. Or SEWAGE. www.changingworldtech.com Oh, how I wish I could buy some stock in this company. Because some day, we Americans are going to finally wake up and need to use it. It's not like the Chevy Volt either. There was a pilot plant running several years ago, and since a couple of years ago there is a full-sized plant running in Missouri outside a Butterball turkey processing plant, making oil from offal. That means the oil is being made from what used to go to the landfill - bones, tendons, skin, fat, feathers. This Republic of Ireland has bought into the technology and are going to start building plants.

  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on May 16, 2008
    SherbornSean : So Autobild’s critical analysis reveals that the biodiesel is 20% cheaper than conventional diesel? That would seem to be a good thing, no? The 1€/L refers to *production* cost. Retail cost -- including distribution and taxes -- would be double that. Of course, it could be argued (and so does Autobild) that SunDiesel should be sold tax-free. Given all the externalities of conventional fuels, it's hard to dismiss such an argument off-hand. Space and time constraints didn't allow me to touch that topic, but I'm thinking of talking with Choren for an in-depth piece.