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Toyota Motor Corporation has teamed up with Hino Motors Ltd. and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. to test out a biodiesel formulation on the Hino Blue Ribbon City Hybrid buses in Japan. The diesel-electric hybrid transit buses will be powered by a Shell-formulated gas-to-liquid (GTL) Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuel. The GTL is then combined with renewable hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), forming a biodiesel product that's suitable for use in the Hino hybrid buses.

A new synthetic diesel fuel produced using a Fischer-Tropsch process based biomass-to-liquids (BTL) technology, and developed by Shell and Choren Industries, will be launched in Europe later this year.

I don't like the wording in Slate's headline for this great story on the Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquid process (is it really "one of the world's most exciting new fuel sources"? Is it really even new if it was developed in the 1920s?), but I still encourage you to read the story. The world is a complicated place, and Daniel Gross' investigation of how Fischer-Tropsch moved from Nazi synthfuel to the fuel of choice for South Africa's state run energy company emphasizes this. The company, Sasol,