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By LAURA CZEKAJ, SUN MEDIA

Ottawa Ontario drivers will be the first in the world to test a locally developed gasoline containing biofuel derived from wheat straw.

For the next month, the Shell gas station on Merivale Rd.will offer customers a unique gasoline containing 10% cellulosic ethanol.

Unlike conventional ethanol, which is fermented from corn or sugar cane and has been accused of driving up food prices, Iogen's unique fuel uses non-food portions of the crops. The price of the fuel during the demonstration will be tied to regular gas prices, said Luis Scoffone, Shell's biofuels vice-president.

After the Ottawa pilot project, the plan is to look at selling the fuel at stations across North America.

However, Scoffone couldn't say exactly when that would happen. The price of the fuel could be more or less than conventional gasoline depending on the world market, he said.

A self-described fan of cellulosic ethanol, federal Transport Minister John Baird listed the product's benefits: It's locally developed and produced, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal government committed $2 billion to support development of a Canadian renewable fuels industry in its 2007 budget.

There's an ample supply of resources to produce cellulosic ethanol, which could significantly reduce consumer dependence on petroleum, said Iogen CEO Brian Foody.

"In the U.S., they figure they can cut their petroleum use by 30%," he said