Fuel from wheat straw at the pumps in Ottawa

cellulosicethanolfuelA gas station in Ottawa is the first in the world to sell fuel made with wheat straw, says a major petroleum company.

Shell announced that this blended fuel includes 10% biofuel made from wheat stalks – known as cellulosic ethanol.

Ethanol and biofuels have been heavily promoted recently as a renewable alternative to petroleum that could lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. But diverting corn into fuel helped drive up the cost of food and animal feed and critics have clamoured for a better solution.

wheat-strawCellulosic ethanol works to create fuel out of agricultural waste products – like wheat straw or corn stalks – that wouldn’t normally be used. While an environmentally friendly energy source and also lessening the burden on the food and feed systems, it could also help farmers develop additional markets for products that currently carry no value.

This new blended fuel is being produced in the Ottawa area at a demonstration plant and Shell says it will be a while before it is widely available to consumers as it is not currently in large-scale production.

Photos: Shell

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