By MIKE ALLEN June 28, 2012, 6:00 am
HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. — Walking into the research facility of Primus Green Energy is not unlike wandering onto the set of “Dr. Who.” Everywhere you look, there is plumbing, usually covered in multiple layers of shiny aluminum foil. The foil is hot, it’s festooned with hundreds of wires and it reeks of solvents.
Mike AllenGeorge E. Boyajian, vice president for business development at Primus Green Energy, with one of the first samples of the company’s biomass-based gasoline.
Arthur C. Clarke, the writer of science fiction, once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
This, then, is a magical place, as demonstrated when a company executive reaches down near the floor to crack open a valve. Hot water spurts into a plastic bin, and after roughly a quart is collected, the stream turns gray and evil-smelling for a few seconds. And then the magic: the stream turns into a thin, clear fluid that floats on top of the water. Gasoline.
And not just ordinary gasoline. This fuel started out a few hours ago as a dozen or so sacks of wood pellets intended for use in wood-burning stoves. It seems like the modern-day equivalent of making gold from lead. Better yet, the pellets are formed from scrap wood that would have otherwise gone to landfills. The process could make the transportation industry, a consumer of nonrenewable resources and a net carbon producer, into a carbon-neutral consumer of renewable, locally produced energy.
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