From the scrap pile to your gas tank
At Phillips 66, as part of our mission to provide energy and improve lives, our emerging technologies program is dedicated to exploring alternate energy developments. As one of the few major U.S. downstream energy companies actively investing in research and development, we never settle for what simply works; we strive to find what works the best.
Technologists from Phillips 66 and four other companies teamed up and invented a way to transform wood scraps found at sawmills and paper mills into a source of transportation-grade gasoline that delivers the same performance as traditional gasoline but with substantially fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Most of today's alternative fuel sources use ethanol derived from corn as the main renewable ingredient. Because corn is in high demand as a food source for Americans, the Department of Energy (DOE) challenged the industry to find an alternate source of renewable fuel.
In response, technologists from Haldor Topsoe, Gas Technology Institute, Andritz and UPM formed a team. They added Phillips 66 to the group because of the company's operating excellence, experience producing renewable fuel sources and expertise in advancing products from testing to the marketplace. Together, team members pioneered a way to turn wood scraps into a renewable source of gasoline.
With a five-year plan and funding of $35 million ($25 million from the DOE and $10 million from supporting companies), these technologists launched the country's largest project to create a fuel from nonedible materials. Phillips 66's role was to ensure the new product could meet or exceed marketplace specifications, conduct engine emissions testing and develop a plan to register the unique gasoline blend with the EPA. Meeting every deadline, the team turned wood scraps into a source of transportation fuel. Like corn, trees can be replanted and potentially increase the sustainability of the energy industry.
Once the team finalized the waste wood and raw gasoline blend specifications, the product was put to the test. Phillips 66 demonstrated the blend's performance by driving pairs of identical cars and trucks 75,000 miles to compare traditional fuel to the waste-wood fuel blend. The results showed that the waste-wood blend did not hinder performance. And cars running on the renewable fuel emitted up to 37 percent fewer greenhouse gasses (GHG) when taking into account the production and distribution of the fuel compared to conventional gasoline. In September 2015, this gasoline passed the engine emissions test for registration as a transportation fuel by the EPA.
We believe there's a place for all forms of energy, and investing in technology, research and development furthers our commitment to operating excellence and sustainability.
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