The car that runs on government waste

Visitors to last week’s Washington Auto Show were able to test-drive a car fuelled by wastepaper - and this being Washington DC, the fuel company claimed it was fuelled specifically by government waste.

The two flex-fuel vehicles on show, a Chevrolet HHR and a Ford F150, were running on E85, a blend of 85 per cent biofuel and 15 per cent petrol/gasoline. The biofuel used was produced by US-based waste processor Fiberight using enzyme-based biotechnology developed by Novozymes.

To make the fuel, waste paper and cardboard is first pulped, pre-treated and washed. An enzyme cocktail then turns the woodpulp into sugars which are fermented into biofuel.

According to Novozyme: “Advanced biofuels can deliver up to 90 per cent CO2 emission reduction compared to gasoline, and are the most cost-efficient way of reducing CO2 in the transport sector.” The Danish-headquartered company added that, thanks in part to funding from the US Department of Energy, it has managed to significantly reduce the cost of its enzymes and build a new manufacturing plant in Nebraska.

“The advanced biofuels showcased here today demonstrate that the enzyme technology is ready for market. What we need now is commercialisation and deployment of advanced biofuels in order to help meet our country’s most pressing energy and environment challenges,” asserted Adam Monroe, president of Novozymes North America. 

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