German cars clean up

Volkswagen and Daimler have each acquired a minority share in Freiberg-based CHOREN Industries, which will enable the widespread market introduction of biomass to liquid (BTL) synthetic fuel.

The three companies have been jointly investigating potential applications and economic feasibility of BTL since 2002, and the acquisition of shares in CHOREN will support further project development of BTL production plants with a planned annual production capacity of 200,000 tonnes.

BTL is produced from biogenic feedstock and residue, and emits very low emissions when used. According to CHOREN, adjustment of existing fuel infrastacture would not be necessary for the distribution and storage of BTL, and it is also compatible with existing and future diesel engine technology.

At present, CHOREN is building the world’s first commercial industrial-scale BTL plant at its Freiberg site, which is expected to produce 15,000 tonnes of fuel a year, enough to meet the annual demand of 15,000 cars. CHOREN also plans to build the first reference plant in Germany, a Sigma 1 plant with an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes.

Dr Wolfgang Steiger, head of group research, powertrains, said: ‘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 per cent.’