Shell Oil is Counting on Biofuels for the Long Term
Shell sees a place for gas, hydrogen and electricity, but Reijnhart was clear that: “We see biofuels as the single most important alternative to hydrocarbons in mobility in the next 20 years.”
Reijnhart several times stressed Shell’s strategic intention to operate “at scale” in the biofuels market, with particular reference to its recent launch of Raizen, its $12-billion joint-venture with Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer Cosan. _GCC
Brazil is a good place for biofuels and biomass to chemicals projects. Its tropical climate provides a year-round climate for growing multiple croppings. Sugar cane is a particularly rich source of both sugars and cellulosic biomass. Large areas of Africa are similarly well-endowed for biomass production.
Reijnhart said that first-generation and second-generation biofuels were different pillars of the same long-term strategy. He suggested that breakthroughs in the production of cellulosic ethanol will come in the early 2020s. Noting that this is part of the long-term future for biofuels, he emphasized Shell’s commitments to R&D in the next-generation technology. _GCC
Brazil is beginning to produce biofuels in the Antarctic for local fuel use -- note the fashionable coverage of the food vs. fuels debate on the video at the link. You know that when the UN gets involved, the excrement is certain to be piled very deeply.
But back in the real world, biomass production is limited only by human ingenuity, just as all energy and food production is limited by what our brains can conceive. As we discover better ways to convert biomass to high value chemicals, valuable materials, fuels, and electrical power, we will find ways to expand the total volume of terrestrial biomass far beyond what is currently thought possible. This will be done by utilising areas and resources for biomass growth which are not currently thought of as croplands or crop nutrients.