In what is being described as the first commercial delivery of cellulosic ethanol, a Shell service station in Ottawa, Ontario is selling gasoline containing a 10% blend of biofuel made from wheat straw. The biofuel and gasoline combo will be available at Shell’s Ottawa gas station for a month beginning today.
The ethanol for Shell’s demonstration project comes from cellulosic ethanol producer Iogen. The company’s ethanol creation process uses agricultural residues–including straw–to create 40,000 liters each month of a product with 90% fewer lifecycle carbon emissions than gasoline. Iogen’s cellulosic ethanol is identical to standard ethanol.
Despite the existence of a cellulosic ethanol-slinging gas station, Shell says that the fuel isn’t ready for mass production, as it isn’t yet economically feasible. But companies will have start infusing more of their gasoline with biofuels soon–the U.S. government has mandated that 100 million gallons of the stuff should be blended into gasoline by 2010, and the Canadian government wants 5% renewable fuels mixed into its gasoline by next year.