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German chancellor visits CHOREN to mark completion of building phase of world’s first commercial BTL plant


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and more than 100 other guests today marked the completion of the building phase of the world’s first commercial production plant to convert biomass into synthetic diesel fuel.

The plant, built in Freiberg, Germany by CHOREN Industries GmbH, will produce a high performance fuel called BTL from non-food biomass, such as forest residues and waste wood. The use of these raw materials means that a litre of BTL will need less than a third of the land needed for a litre of rapeseed bio diesel.

The fuel also promises to reduce CO2 production by up to 90% compared to conventional diesel and is compatible with standard diesel engines and supply infrastructure.

The next important step will be starting production, which will be in 8-12 months. The plant is designed to produce 18 million litres of fuel per year.

Guests in Freiberg today saw the engineering behind the build of this highly complex, first-of-a-kind plant and heard how the operations team will now go through structured testing of the 113 subsystems. They also looked ahead to future industrial-scale production of next generation biofuels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The Freiberg project demonstrates what progress can be achieved in the development of climate protection technology when government, industry and science work hand in hand.”

Tom Blades, Chief Executive Officer, CHOREN said “We have completed one successful stage today, but we still have a long way to go. In parallel with the commissioning of the beta plant we are working on a concept for the first industrial-scale BTL plant, in Germany. The medium-term regulatory framework has to be right for that.”

Rob Routs, Executive Director of Royal Dutch Shell plc, said: “Shell is committed to a secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply in the future. We are working both on making fossil fuels more efficient and on development of alternative fuels. With our investment in next generation biofuels, such as the BTL fuel from CHOREN, Shell is driving innovation in low-carbon fuels for sustainable mobility.”

Shell became a shareholder in CHOREN Industries in 2005 and provides the Fischer Tropsch technology used in the BTL process, with associated technical support.


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