SYDNEY—Australian scientists say they have developed a greenhouse-friendly way of turning green waste into fuel.
The Furafuel bio-crude oil process, developed by CSIRO and Monash University, can be used to produce petrol and diesel from forest thinnings, crop residues and waste paper, most of which are normally dumped in landfill or burned.
"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, CSIRO Forest Biosciences scientist Dr Steven Loffler said.
"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 plant wastes used in the process contain chemicals known as lignocellulose, which are favoured as a raw material for bio-ethanol as they are renewable and potentially greenhouse gas neutral.
Dr Loffler believes the new process will strengthen the argument for biofuels, which are considered by some as being "un-green".
"By using waste, our Furafuel technology overcomes the food versus fuel debate which surrounds biofuels generated from grains, corn and sugar," he said.