|Block flow diagram of a Chemrec Black Liquor Gasification with Motor Fuels (BLGMF) production concept. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Technology Transfer AB is part of AB Volvo and focuses on the development and support of new ventures of relevance to the Volvo Group. This investment is part of the Volvo Group’s drive to help speed up the development of renewable fuels for the heavy vehicle industry.
Chemrec has shown that there is an efficient process for converting biomass into renewable fuels. The Volvo Group has no intention of becoming a fuel supplier but wishes instead to continue to conduct engine development on a broad front. On the other hand, we do want to participate in the development of new processes for the production of alternative fuels.—Anders Brännström, President of Volvo Technology Transfer
Common practice today is to incinerate the black liquor in soda furnaces where the chemicals are recovered and where the energy that is generated has a relatively low efficiency rating. Using gasification rather than incineration to dispose of the black liquor creates a number of by-products including synthesis gas. With this synthesis gas it is possible to utilize known techniques to produce a range of vehicle fuels such as methanol, DME (dimethyl ether), Fischer-Tropsch synthetic diesel and hydrogen gas.
|Black liquor motor fuel system (here with optional auto-thermal reformer). Click to enlarge.|
The Chemrec high-temperature gasification plant (DP-1) in Piteå, Sweden, has recorded more than 1,100 hours of accumulated operating time producing syngas from black liquor. The next stage will be to produce fuel by modifying the gas cleaning unit and introducing a CO-shift stage into the black liquor gasification (BLG) process.
A report published by Nykomb Synergetics AB and Chemrec under an Altener contract by the EC in 2003 studied BLGMF in detail. On the basis of a modern pulp mill, and factoring in the additional energy required for the process, BLGMF can produce automotive fuel with an efficiency approximating 65%.
Technical and Commercial Feasibility Study of Black Liquor Gasification with Methanol/DME Production as Motor Fuels for Automotive Uses—BLGMF; Ekbom, T., Lindblom, M., Berglin, N. and Ahlvik, P.; Altener Contract No 4.1030/Z/01-087/2001, 2003