Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft and Daimler AG have each acquired a minority shareholding in CHOREN Industries GmbH, Freiberg. Contracts to this effect were signed today in Freiberg. The main goal of the commitment by the two companies is the widespread market introduction of BTL (biomass to liquid), a climate-friendly second-generation synthetic fuel.
Volkswagen and Daimler have been investigating potential applications, the economic feasibility and the energy balance of BTL jointly with CHOREN since 2002. The shareholdings in CHOREN acquired by the two companies are an important step towards the systematic use of second-generation biofuels and support the further project development of world scale BTL production plants: with a planned annual production capacity of some 200,000 metric tones, such plants represent a milestone for the envisaged widespread market introduction.
CHOREN is currently building the world’s first commercial industrial scale BTL plant (Beta plant) at its Freiberg site. From 2008, the plant is expected to produce approx. 15,000 metric tons of fuel a year. This would be sufficient to meet the annual requirements of some 15,000 cars. CHOREN also plans to build the first reference plant in Germany, a Sigma 1 plant, with an annual capacity of 200,000 metric tons. It is hoped to announce a decision on the location of such a plant by the end of the year. The planned Sigma plants have the potential to contribute significantly towards realizing the German government’s climate protection targets. 10 to 15 CHOREN BTL plants could save up to 3 million metric tons of CO2 by 2020.
“Volkswagen has been calling for and supporting the development and industrial production of second-generation biofuels, known as SunFuels, for a long time,” Dr. Wolfgang Steiger, Head of Group Research, Powertrains, underlined. “Compared with the first generation, these second-generation biofuels can in fact as much as triple hectare yields, they do not compete with food production and they help to reduce greenhouse gases by approx. 90%.