Bio4Energy researchers and partners have placed on the market a new technology for making ”green” hydrocarbons—bio-based equivalents of fossil petrol, diesel and jet fuel—and which process can be operated within the space of a standard shipping container, by non-experts having received basic use instructions.
Despite its novelty—the World Intellectual Property Organisation granted the required patents in summer 2017—the technology based on catalysis and thermal conversion of biomass has attracted the attention of the German exchange in Stuttgart and been acknowledged at an event last month in Stockholm, designed to showcase business development in northern Sweden.
“Because the process also renders liquefied petroleum gas, which can be used in gas-to-power engines, it may be used to produce electricity. According to a rough estimate, one [container-size process] could supply 100 households in India with electrical power”, said Mikkola, who is a leading figure on the platform Bio4Energy Chemical Catalysis and Separation Technologies.
Currently, the technology takes the form of a process unit that can make 2.5 litres of biofuel per day. A container-scale unit would make up to 250 litres. Depending on the raw material and the process parameters chosen, the technology will produce renewable hydrocarbons with the same chemical structure as its petrochemical counterparts, from bio-based alcohols such as ethanol, butanol or isobutene made from forestry residues or other types of biomass. A further product of the process is purified water.
As such, the invention could be shipped almost anywhere in the world.
However, the partners—united in the Skellefteå-based company Eco Oil—are planning for the construction of a first commercial-scale production plant. Or, in fact, two: One for petrol and one for diesel, both classified as being 100 per cent biofuels.
“We leave it in the hands of those who have capital to construct full-scale production units. For our part, we are going to concentrate on selling licences and making the catalysts. The secret is in the catalysts”, Mikkola said.
In Spring 2018, Mikkola and van Klint will travel to Germany to attend a matchmaking event for innovators and investors, hosted by the Boerse Stuttgart.
Mikkola added that the production volumes needed to replace petrochemicals for use in transport fuels were “gigantic”. In Sweden alone, 15 billion litres of fuels found use as vehicle propellant each year, he said.
The people behind the invention:
Jyri-Pekka Mikkola, professor - Bio4Energy
Ajaikumar Samikannu, senior research engineer - Bio4Energy
Kent van Klint, CEO Eco-Oil - Bio4Energy Industrial Network
William Siljebo, senior lecturer - Bio4Energy
Lakhya Jyoti Konwar, postdoctoral researcher - Bio4Energy
Bio4Energy and its lead partner Umeå University is issuing a press release 20 March 2018, for the benefit of their Swedish-speaking readers.
In the Media: