Scientists have created a new method to turn plant waste into fuel
Researchers at Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven in Belgium have made it possible to convert the cellulose -- the main component of plant fibers -- in the sawdust into hydrocarbon chains.
"We start with plant waste and use a chemical process to make a product that is a perfect replica of its petrochemical counterpart," said Sels.
"In the end product, you can only tell the difference with fossil gasoline using carbon dating," he said.
"But the question remained how the industry can integrate this and could produce it in large quantities," Sels said.
Cellulose gasoline must be seen as a transitional phase, he said.
The cellulose is still mixed with petroleum: this gasoline will never be sourced 100 percent from renewable raw materials, the researchers said. Current consumption is too high to produce all gasoline from plant waste.