By Stephen Markley on July 15, 2009
Texas-based company Terrabon, which specializes in biofuels, reports that it has devised an alternative fuel compatible with gasoline. It produces the new fuel using almost any kind of organic material, including sewer sludge.
Researchers at Texas A&M University pioneered a fermentation process called MixAlco that Terrabon thinks will replace ethanol in the next decade. Although ethanol has a head start and a lot of political support, Terrabon’s fuel is completely compatible with today’s cars and energy infrastructure. Ethanol is highly corrosive and burns inefficiently, while Terrabon’s fuel behaves chemically like gasoline.
Terrabon finished building a $3.5 million facility last fall to produce the fuel. Capable of concocting 300 gallons per day of this so-called “green gasoline,” the plant uses chopped sorghum as its organic base. To be sure, 300 gallons of gasoline isn’t exactly going to free us from Saudi Arabia anytime soon, but Terrabon has plans to build a second plant, much larger than the first and backed by the country’s largest oil refiner, Valero.
Terrabon believes it can eventually produce a gallon of fuel for $1.75, which would put it well below today’s average gas price of just over $2.50 per gallon.
Alternative Fuels: Houston’s ‘Green Gasoline’ Producer Fine-Tunes (Houston Chronicle via AutoblogGreen)