DSC 2892 400x265Bio4Energy researcher Rikard Gebart and Fredrik Granberg are on the road from Luleå to Stockholm in a personal car powered by renewable methanol based on forestry residue. Photo by courtesy of the LTU.Three weeks ago the news struck that LTU Green Fuels—a cluster of large pilot facilities at Piteå, Sweden, which centre tested and perfected biofuels such as methanol based on forestry residue—was going to have to cease its activities due to a lack of funding.

Today the research leader of the Biosyngas programme, which was an integral part of the development work at the LTU Green Fuels centre, is making a real-life test of the fuel that has been produced and had its performance tested in the centres’ reactors for more than 10,000 hours. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the Luleå University of Technology and the LTU Green Fuels chief project leader, Fredrik Granberg, are travelling from Luleå in northern Sweden to Stockholm, and then on to Eskilstuna, in a car powered by renewable methanol fuel produced at the pilot plant and blended in with standard petrol refined from fossil oil. This equals a distance of 943.7 kilometre if one chooses to travel mainly on the E4 highway, according to Google Maps.

"It's the first time anybody tries to drive a personal car that has been adjusted to perform well on E85 biofuel from renewable methanol made in Sweden", Gebart said Wednesday (4 May) in a press release from the LTU.

Gebart is a member of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies. Since before the start of Bio4Energy in 2010, he has been working tirelessly to develop biomass gasification technology to a point where it turns out biofuels from forestry residues and by-products from pulp and paper making that perform as well as in cars its fossil alternatives, are relatively cheap to produce, emit no or a low amount of polluting emissions and can be turned out in large volumes.

"The purpose of our trip is to call the attention to methanol as a superior alternative when it comes to biofuels. We have known since the 70s' that methanol has a good input-output level, it doesn't cost much and performs well in vehicles. But we seem to have forgot what we learnt. Now we talk about other types of fuels and have stopped talking about methanol and DME", Gebart told Bio4Energy Communications.

He was referring to the debate in Sweden about clean energy and the way in which Swedish politicians have been handling the biofuel issue.

"The politicians have to stop subsidising fossil fuels. This is actually what is happening today. Then the responsibility for mitigating environmentally-harmful emissions is put on society as a whole, while the [large fossil oil-producing] companies are making a huge profit from selling their products".

Gebart and Granberg will be posting notes on the progress of their trip on Facebook.


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