Second-generation biofuels such as Fischer-Tropsch Biomass-to-Liquids (BtL) are technically feasible and one of the most promising options for future fuels, according to a study just released by the German Energy Agency (Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH—dena).
Germany has sufficient biomass available for large-scale BtL production which could meet 20% of today’s fuel requirements, according to the study. That could increase to 35% by 2030 as technology improves.
Production cost for BtL could be lowered to less than €0.80 per liter (US$3.98 per gallon US).
The study said construction of a BtL plant consuming around one million tonnes of biomass annually would be the next development stage to test BtL technology for commercial-scale production.
Biofuels are so far, and into the foreseeable future, the only renewable alternative to fossil fuels. They can contribute to energy supply security, climatic protection and creation of value in rural areas.—Clemens Neumann, head of sustainable materials department, German Ministry of Agriculture
BtL is one of the most promising renewable energy technologies for fuels. Thanks to their large potential for CO2 savings and increased efficiency, BtL fuels can make a crucial contribution to improving the climatic balance of transport.—Dr. Thomas Schlick, managing director of the German automobile industry federation (Verbandes der Automobilindustrie—VDA)
BtL fuels are completely compatible with today’s engines as well as future engine generations, Dr. Schlick stressed.
The study explored five different locations with different types of biomass and infrastructure but that met the fundamental requirements of either sufficient local or easily sourced and transported biomass.
The study found that substantial synergies can be obtained by integrating BtL production—which first gasifies biomass to produce syngas for input to the Fischer-Tropsch process—in existing refinery and chemical plants.