MADISON, Wis., June 4 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin company says it has converted cornstalks and pine chips to fuel, the first biofuel made from plant material not used for food.
Randy Cortright, the founder and chief technology officer of Virent Energy Systems, called the development "an important milestone for our company and the biofuels industry overall," the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Virent's technology was one of six processes being tested by the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium.
While biofuels such as ethanol substitute for oil, fuel derived from corn and other plants eaten by humans and animals can drive up food costs.
"People aren't eating pine and they're not eating cornstalks, either," Kelly Morgan, Virent's marketing manager, said.
Virent plans to begin producing fuel in commercial quantities by the end of 2015.