After vegetable oils and sugar cane, wheat straw is a new alternative fuel to petroleum derivatives.
Researchers, supported by the National Renewable Energy Center, are working to develop a sustainable process for manufacturing biofuel, particularly from wheat straw, to power vehicles.
In addition to its low GHG emissions, biobutanol does not consume food resources, unlike second-generation biofuels.
The objective is to produce, within a few years, a biobutanol at a price competitive with fossil fuels. The manufacturing process consists in crushing and heating the straw before placing it in an acidic medium containing specific bacteria. The ingestion of the molecules by these bacteria produces butanol.
The Global Bioenergies group, a hydrocarbon producer, estimates that biobutanol production plants could be profitable as soon as the price of oil exceeds a threshold of $50 per barrel.
Source: The Transitions Review