November 25, 2014 / 4:37 PM / 5 years ago

France's Total developing advanced biofuel sugars from plant waste

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Total SA is exploring ways to convert sugars from plant waste that could be used to fuel aircraft while cutting greenhouse gases, the French oil major said on Tuesday.

As commercial production of transportation fuel made from plant waste rather than valuable corn finally starts in the United States, Brazil and Europe, Total has turned its sights on developing technologies to extract as much sugar as possible from woody crops and agricultural waste.

“Total is working on ‘second-generation’ sugars production which enlarge the deposit of green crude,” Jean-Alain Taupy, raw material supply senior manager with Total, said on Tuesday.

“We think that biomass products can create a better energy mix,” he said in a speech at the International Sugar Organization (ISO) seminar in London.

First generation biofuels produced from arable crops have proved of limited use as they can be costly compared with fossil fuels and also pose risk to food supplies and biodiversity.

Taupy said the new biofuels could be developed without competing with food production by using non-edible plant sources.

Commercial use could be some way off, Taupy said.

“As an oil and gas company, we are used to decades of development,” he said. (Reporting by David Brough; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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