Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler have purchased a minority shareholding in Choren Industries GmbH (Choren) siting the goal of widespread introduction of biomass-to-liquid (BTL), second-generation synthetic fuels. Choren produces a range of synthetic fuels known as SunFuel® using BTL and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
Choren is currently building the world’s first commercial industrial scale BTL plant at its site in Freiberg, Germany. From 2008, this plant is expected to produce approximately 15,000 metric tons of fuel a year. This would be sufficient to meet the annual fuel requirements of 15,000 cars. Following the success of the Freiberg plant Choren plans to build a first full scale production plant in Germany, with an annual capacity of 200,000 metric tons.
Dr. Wolfgang Steiger, Head of Group Research, Powertrains said:
Volkswagen has been calling for and supporting the development and industrial production of second-generation biofuels, known as SunFuels, for a long time. Compared with the first generation, these second-generation biofuels can in fact as much as triple hectare yields, they do not compete with food production and they help to reduce greenhouse gases by approximately 90%. With this financial commitment, the Volkswagen Group is supporting the industrial-scale realization of biogenic synthetic fuels as part of its “Driving ideas” campaign, and thus systematically continuing to move closer to sustainable mobility.
BTL is virtually free of sulphur and aromatics, combusts with extremely low emissions and has an excellent CO2 balance. BTL is produced from various types of biogenic feedstock and residue, and thus hardly competes with food and fodder production. No adjustment of existing fuel infrastructure is necessary for the distribution and storage of BTL. In addition, BTL is compatible with current as well as future diesel engine technology.