University of Maine students experimenting with salt and high temperatures appear to have stumbled upon a way to create a sulfur free crude oil from wood pulp.
The discovery is exciting - Maine is looking at the potential (future) large scale production of an advanced, cellulosic biofuel from already abundant waste products in the area - sawdust, wood pulp, and logging residue from wood processing & lumber facilities.
As we have discussed before, an ongoing difficulty with the Renewable Fuel Standard has been compliance with the cellulosic portion of the recommendations, because the technology and production just hasn't been there. This project in Maine is still very small in terms of production levels, of course, but the technology holds promise for cellulosic development and the patents are in place for companies to do the research and testing, and ultimately scale the project to private sector demand levels.
I wrote about the project in more detail in this month's issue of Oil & Energy Magazine, which you can read here: They're Making Fuel from Wood Waste in Maine