View Full Version : Bio-crude turns cheap waste into valuable fuel

4th February 2008, 10:07 AM

4 February 2008
Ref 08/09


CSIRO and Monash University have developed a chemical process that turns
green waste into a stable bio-crude oil.

The bio-crude oil can be used to produce high value chemicals and
biofuels, including both petrol and diesel replacement fuels.

"By making changes to the chemical process, we've been able to create a
concentrated bio-crude which is much more stable than that achieved
elsewhere in the world," says Dr Steven Loffler of CSIRO Forest

"This makes it practical and economical to produce bio-crude in local
areas for transport to a central refinery, overcoming the high costs and
greenhouse gas emissions otherwise involved in transporting bulky green
wastes over long distances."

The process uses low value waste such as forest thinnings, crop
residues, waste paper and garden waste, significant amounts of which are
currently dumped in landfill or burned.

"By using waste, our Furafuel technology overcomes the food versus fuel
debate which surrounds biofuels generated from grains, corn and sugar,"
says Dr Loffler.

"The project forms part of CSIRO's commitment to delivering cleaner
energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving technologies
for converting waste biomass to transport fuels."

The plant wastes being targeted for conversion into biofuels contain
chemicals known as lignocellulose, which is increasingly favoured around
the world as a raw material for the next generation of bio-ethanol.

Lignocellulose is both renewable and potentially greenhouse gas neutral.
It is predominantly found in trees and is made up of cellulose; lignin,
a natural plastic; and hemicellulose.

CSIRO and Monash University will apply to patent the chemical processes
underpinning the conversion of green wastes to bio-crude oil once final
laboratory trials are completed.

The research to date is supported by funding from CSIRO's Energy
Transformed Flagship program, Monash University, Circa Group and Forest
Wood Products Australia.

National Research Flagships. Redirecting to Flagships (http://www.csiro.au/flagships)
CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based
solutions in response to Australia's major research challenges and
opportunities. The nine Flagships form multidisciplinary teams with
industry and the research community to deliver impact and benefits for

Feature article: Biofuels and competition in Australia (Feature Article) (http://www.csiro.au/science/ps3vf.html)

Podcast: How to turn rubbish into liquid gold (Audio) (http://www.csiro.au/multimedia/OilFromRubbishPodcast.html)

Images available at: ScienceImage - CSIRO (http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/mediarelease/mr08-09.html)

4th February 2008, 10:56 PM

Thanks for the quick update on the media release... I guess a bit of "insider info" gets you the edge there. ;)

I'm stoked to see these 2nd gen (or is it 3rd gen?) biofuels technologies coming to fruition. Of course it may still be some time off being commercially available, but this enforces the need to still pursue biofuels technologies and support their uptake despite the negative realisations of some of the older technologies or less sustainable practices.

I love the idea of lignocellulosic biofuels as it puts aside all that food vs fuel stuff and also it can be made from waste product. It reminds me of Doc Brown in Back to the Future feeding his delorean from scraps in someone's rubbish before he took off somewhere/sometime.

I guess when it gets easier to use this sort of technology, then people will be disputing more than just waste oil.;)