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.
“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.