Shell looks to plant-derived fuel to cut greenhouse

Oil giant Shell has told the UK media it intends investing £20 million into a £100 million, world first bioethanol plant, which will produce fuel from wood shavings.

Shell said the fuel would be made from fermented sugars derived from plant fibre in wood and straw and car engines would not need to be adapted to take the fuel. However the fuel would help cut harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide from cars by up to 90 per cent, Shell said.

A Shell spokesman said it was too early to say when motorists would be able to use the fuel. "This is the first step on a long road, but we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't think there was the potential," he said.

Shell is developing the environmentally-friendly fuel in partnership with Canadian company, Iogen Energy Corporation, whose company president, Mr Brian Foody, said because the fuel is made in a natural way, it leaves a very small environmental footprint.

"The fuel itself, when it's included in the fuel mixture in your car, has no net greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Foody said.