Shell & Virent Begin Production Of Gasoline Made From Beets

In news certain to please the Schrute family of Scranton, PA., Shell and youngster biofuel company Virent just announced they’ve started up production at their plant that can convert beet sugar into gasoline and gasoline blend components.

The plant will eventually be using other items, including corn stover, wheat straw and sugarcane pulp, at their demonstration plant in Madison, WI, which currently only has the capacity to produce 10,000 gallons per year.

One of the main difference between the biogasoline being made by Virent/Shell and ethanol is that, unlike ethanol, it will be able to be dropped right into petroleum pipelines without any corrosive effects.

According to Virent, their product “has the potential to eliminate the need for specialized infrastructure, engine modifications, and blending equipment necessary for the use of gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol.” They also claim that the biogasoline has a higher energy content and delivers better fuel economy.

Fuel produced at the Madison plant will be used for engine and fleet testing.

“Renewable fuels that provide high performance, reliability, and lower emissions are now closer to reality as a viable alternative for transportation fuels from crude oil,” said Lee Edwards, CEO of Virent. “Virent’s industry leading collaboration with Shell is focused on delivering material solutions to global challenges in energy security, environment sustainability and job creation.”