27 September 2005

Shell announcing plans for three factories of synthetic diesel fuel in Germany

Energy major Shell has announced plans for large-scale production of synthetic diesel fuel in Germany. Shell said it would invest several hundred million euros over the next few years in the production of synthetic diesel fuel in cooperation with the east German firm Choren. Three factories with a total production capacity of 200,000 tonnes are being planned, reducing the German oil import bill by 100 million euros annually, according to the announcement.

“We will reduce the dependence on oil imports, improve balance of payments, boost local industries and create a completely new industrial cluster,” Choren board chairman Stephan Schueller said. Choren has developed a technology producing synthetic diesel fuel from organic substances such as agricultural residue, wood and other organic substances.

In contrast to conventional bio-diesel, the production of synthetic diesel is four times more effective because all the biomass substances are utilised. DaimlerChrysler meanwhile announced that it will fuel all its new diesel cars with the SunDiesel synthetic fuel as soon as enough fuel is available.

DaimlerChrysler engineers have tested the synthetic fuel produced by Choren for the past three years, and found that the diesel engines needed no modification and that particle and nitrogen oxide emissions were significantly lower than those of conventional diesel.

Herbert Kohler, from the DaimlerChrysler research department and spokesman for environmental issues, said the company saw enormous potential in Biomass to Liquid (BTL) synthetic fuels as part of plans to improve the combustion engine and develop alternative engine systems such as hybrids and fuel cell technology.

(Cf. news of Aug. 17, 2005.)

Source: Hindustan Times Sept. 21, 2005.

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