Virent successfully completed its first road fleet test, the
company announced on Tuesday. Organized and executed by
collaborator Shell, Virents biogasoline was found to
cause no harm to vehicles in comparison to Shells
Shell used five identical pairs of late-model European cars
for the road trial.
Five cars used a baseline Shell gasoline, and the other five
cars used Shell gasoline blended with Virents
Each car was driven 10,000 km (6,000 miles) over the course
of 2010, after which the engines were dismantled and
All 10 cars, regardless of the gasoline used, were found to
be in the same condition.
The Shell road trial results are encouraging and an
important step forward in the commercialization of the
BioForming process, said Lee Edwards, CEO of
Our objective is to replace gasoline made from crude
oil with gasoline made from plant sugars, and the fact that the
Virent fueled cars performed the same shows were off to a
The road trial is one of many steps in Virents journey
towards fuel certification, the company said.
The Virent process uses continuous catalytic chemistry to
convert plant sugars directly into a premium gasoline
blendstock, with molecular composition identical to fuel made
at a petroleum refinery.
The sugars can be sourced from conventional biofuel feedstocks such as sugar beets, corn
and sugar cane, or as proven recently, from cellulosic biomass
like corn stover and pine residuals.
Virents fuels and chemicals are considered
drop-in, meaning they can be blended seamlessly
into other fuels at high percentages and without any changes to
The companys patented process creates industry-ready
molecules that can utilize existing refineries, pipelines,
tanks, trucks, stations and pumps, powering the engines of
cars, trucks, motorcycles, watercraft and other gasoline
powered small engines.