Globally, biofuels are increasingly being used to power vehicles, heat homes and for cooking. As the demand for biofuels increases, “food vs. fuel” debates rage about the value and sustainability of first-generation biofuels, which largely rely on crops high in sugar or vegetable oil.
Bethlehem-based Pennsylvania Sustainable Technologies (PST), with the support of a $50,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, is developing a new integrated fuel synthesis process for the production of a new type of biofuel. Supporters of biofuels claim that a more viable solution is needed to increase political and industrial support for second-generation biofuel implementation from non-food crops, including waste biomass.
PST’s patent-pending fuel synthesis process uses inedible biomass and other waste materials to produce an advanced biofuel that addresses the challenges to increased biofuel adoption in the U.S.
PST’s fuel has higher energy density than ethanol, can be blended in greater percentages with gasoline and is compatible with existing internal combustion engines and fuel distribution infrastructure. Further, it fulfills U.S. regulatory requirements calling for 21 billion gallons of advanced and cellulosic biofuels by 2022. PST has been working with Lehigh University to demonstrate and improve its process and is now beginning to partner with commercial biofuel producers to develop a pilot facility.