Colorado

Apr 27, 2010 11:02 AM by Associated Press

Colorado school tests fuel made from beetle-kill trees

Colorado State University is getting ready to test a California company's technology that converts trees killed by bark beetles into fuel for cars.

CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Lab will measure the power and pollution from the fuel developed by Cobalt Technologies Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.

Cobalt's process turns lodge pole pines into butanol. Ethanol, a more common biofuel, usually uses corn or other foot crops.

Tom Foust of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory outside Denver says using wood or grass instead of food to create alternative fuels is the key to making it sustainable.

Rick Wilson, Cobalt's chief executive, says beetle-killed trees are cheap and plentiful. He says the next step is to build a pilot plant.

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