Sawdust – the new petrol?

In future you may top up your car with petrol – and sawdust. Belgian scientists claim a new process of “bio-refining” can convert the cellulose in sawdust into fuel. Cellulose is present in all […]

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By ELN reporter

In future you may top up your car with petrol – and sawdust.

Belgian scientists claim a new process of “bio-refining” can convert the cellulose in sawdust into fuel.

Cellulose is present in all non-edible plant parts of wood and it contains strong carbon “chains”. Bio-refining these chains in a chemical process creates a liquid which can bulk out petrol.

Dr Bert Lagrain at the KU Leuven research centre says: “With the right temperature and pressure, it takes about half a day to convert the cellulose in the wood shavings into saturated hydrocarbon chains.”

It can be used as a “green additive” to petrol says the researcher, adding it could also be used as a building block for plastic, rubber, insulation foam and nylon.