Carbon-neutral fuels are very similar to legacy petroleum-based fuels on a molecular level. The difference is in the source of the carbon used to create those molecules. Because all fuels burned in internal combustion engines release carbon into the atmosphere, the difference that matters the most is how the carbon gets added to the equation. Capture the right kind of carbon into the process and the process is off to a very good start. Manage to get enough for the fuel and also sequester some in the soil and it may be a true game-changer.
It may go without saying but fossil fuels contain, and release, exactly the wrong kind of carbon. That’s because the carbon that comes out of the ground is being removed from its sequestration deep in the ground, and we’ve recently come to understand that it’s not that easy to recapture carbon and store it in that deep underground matrix. It can be done, but it takes advanced science, dedication, and lots of cooperation from farmers and others along the way.
Biofuels, when they are burned, release the right kind of carbon into the atmosphere. This is carbon that was already present in the active atmospheric cycle, circulating through plants, into the ground or into food, or even into a bio-based fuel process. Fossil fuels contribute additional carbon to that cycle, and they do it at an alarming rate. That’s why we’ve got climate change, global warming, ocean acidification, and many more related problems.
Gevo is focused on making fuels that are carbon neutral or better. Every step of the way, we remove carbon from the process: