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Bio4Energy researchers built a pilot unit to demonstrate a new technology for making 'green' hydrocarbons that has the capacity to deliver 2.5 litres of biofuel per day. Photo by William Siljebo, Bio4Energy© 2018.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.

“This is a disruptive technology. It does not have to be constructed on the scale of a [commercial] biorefinery. This application could be operated on behalf of a petrol station or a village”, according to lead researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at Umeå University.

“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.

When fully developed, production costs would be approximately “on a par with [those for] fossil petrol”, Mikkola said. He cautioned that this was a rough estimate, made by Eco Oil CEO This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and that the true costs would become known closer to the start of commercial-scale production.

“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:

Ny teknik för biobaserade kolväten, Kemivärlden Biotech

Bio4Energy-forskare lanserar ny teknik att framställa gröna kolväten,

Forskning bakom nytt flygbränsle, Norrbottens Affärer

Forskning bakom nytt flygbränsle,

Nu lanseras ny teknik för att framställa gröna kolväten till biodrivmedel, Bioenergitidningen

Bio4Energy-forskare lanserar ny teknik att framställa gröna kolväten, Skogssverige

Container framställer grön bensin,

"Gröna kolväten" ska skapa oljefria drivmedel, Sveriges Radio P4 Västerbotten

Uusiutuvaa polttoainetta vaikka ruoantähteistä, Sveriges Radio Sisuradio

Grön bensin tillverkas i hemlighet i Västerbotten, Västerbottens-Kuriren 

Bränsle gjort på matrester - nu är gåtan löst, SVT Nyheter Västerbotten

Han har tagit fram grön bensin - i hemlighet, Land Lantbruk

Ny process skapar "Gröna kolväten" - i containrar, Process Nordic nr 04, 2018

Fossilfri bensin utvecklas i Sverige – i hemlig anläggning: "Bilen gick som en raket",

Ny process skapar ”gröna kolväten” - i containrar,

Morgonprogrammet, Sveriges Radio P4 Västernorrland (Air time is 8:40 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., Thursday 26 April 2018.)

Ny process skapar ”Gröna kolväten” - i containrar, Process Nordic

Snart är bensinen grön, TV4 online and ‘Ekonominyheterna’ 3 May 2018 at 10 p.m.

På väg mot en värld fri från fossila bränslen, Åbo Akademi

Revolutionerande fossilfri bensin har utvecklats på Åbo Akademi och Umeå Universitet, Åland idag - Text and video

Ny uppfinning från ÅA – Reaktorsystem som tillverkar bensin ur socker, Huvudstadsbladet

Revolutionerande fossilfri bensin har utvecklats på Åbo Akademi, Svenska Yle

Eco-Oil, a shortcut to the future, North Sweden Cleantech

Får Baltics samverkanspris för utveckling av gröna kemikalier, Umeå universitet/My Newsdesk

Finland is a world leader in clean energy. Here’s what’s driving its success, World Economic Forum

Jyri-Pekkas hemliga bränsle tar klivet ut ur skuggan, Land Skogsbruk

Biobränslet som är identiskt med det fossila, ATL Lantbrukets Affärstidning

Fossilfri bensin -- är biodrivmedel bilens framtid?, Sveriges Natur

Se hur matrester blir till bensin i Umeås skog, Svenska Dagbladet -- Klimatskiftet Sverige

De sensationella dropparna göms för spioner -- i ett släp, Svenska Dagbladet -- Klimatskiftet Sverige

Spionaget inger hopp -- sänder tydlig signal, Svenska Dagbladet -- Klimatskiftet Sverige

Den hemliga kemin som gör biomassa till bensin, Tänk and Umeå universitet

Bio4Energy on Twitter