Might tree roots, twigs and branches one day be used to power cars That’s what a Swedish researcher is hoping after developing a pulp byproduct that on a modest scale does just that.
Chemical engineering scientist Christian Hulteberg, from Lund University, has used the black liquor residue from pulp and paper manufacturing to create a polymer called lignin.
After purification and filtration, that is then turned into a gasoline mixture.
“We are actually using some wood materials that they do not use because they are making paper and pulp,” Hulteberg told Reuters, adding it adds value to low-value components of trees.
He adds that from the environmental point of view, it gives him an advantage over other biofuels, such as ethanol. “Much of the controversy over ethanol production was in the use of raw materials that could be taken as food in fact.”
Hulteberg has an experimental industrial unit and hopes to fuel the trees at the gas stations by 2021.
Although it will provide part of the requirements for Swedish motorists, it hopes to help with other renewable products under development to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.