The opening of a demonstration plant is planned for later this year by Virent Energy Systems. The plant will convert sugar water into gasoline, or something very similar to gasoline anyway – liquid hydrocarbons.
According to Virent Energy CEO Lee Edwards, this pilot facility is to be located in Madison, Wisconsin and expected to be running by the third quarter of 2009.
Each year the plant will be capable of producing up to 10,000 gallons of the liquid hydrocarbons in one of three forms: gasoline, jet fuel, or diesel. The sugar feedstock can come from several different crops including sugar beets and sugar cane.
This week at the Jefferies Clean Technology Conference Edwards spoke and emphasized the difference between his company’s biofuel and ethanol.
“Virent is one of few companies that convert biomass directly into hydrocarbons. The molecules we make are exactly the same as the ones that you use to drive vehicles today. It just so happens that ours are made from sugar water,” he said.