Research Shows Advanced Biofuels Can Be Produced Extremely Efficiently

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Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, say that they have found a new way to switch over to renewable sources of energy, heating and fuel while at the same time providing new opportunities to produce high amounts of renewable products for several industries.

Their 10 years of study on gasification on biomass allowed them to develop a much needed solution to convert tar into a valuable product.

Previously, biomass was converted inside 800 °C sand bed inside a gasifier with steam and resulted in yielding tar and a high calorific gas as by products. The tar, which a mixture of both unwanted and valuable components, creates problems during the cooling process of the gas and was considered by many as a showstopper in the application of the gasification process as it was also a very expensive process.

However, the researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology developed a solution to this problem with the help of their industrial partners by turning this otherwise problematic by product into a valuable resource. They said that the new finding will have a huge potential to move onto renewable energy sources together with providing new opportunities for industries to produce renewable products in large quantities.

Henrik Thunman, Professor of Energy Technology at Chalmers, said “The potential is huge! Using only the already existing Swedish energy plants, we could produce renewable fuels equivalent to 10 percent of the world’s aviation fuel, if such a conversion were fully implemented.”

The findings of the research of the last ten years have been summarized in the report: “GoBiGas demonstration – a vital step for a large-scale transition from fossil fuels to advanced biofuels and electrofuels”. A wide range of international and Swedish collaborative partners together with researchers from Energy Technology at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers have worked together with colleagues at the departments of Microtechnology and Nanoscience; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Technology Management and Economics; Mechanics and Maritime Sciences; and, Biology and Biological Engineering for the study.

For many industries, and especially for heavy industries including oil and paper and pulp industries, it is very difficult to implement a switch between fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.