The UK’s Carbon Trust has solicited Expressions of Interest from potential partners within the scientific community to collaborate in the development of a world-class commercially viable pyrolysis oil upgrading process. The Carbon Trust will potentially invest £5 million (US$10 million) in one or more commercially-focussed research projects in this area of advanced biofuels over next 3-5 years.
As part of its mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, the Carbon Trust has identified pyrolysis oil from sustainable sources of biomass as having the potential to produce low-cost fuels with low system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions&mash;if it can be integrated into a conventional refinery.
However, the properties of the oil produced from current fast pyrolysis processes are far from suitable for direct integration. The Pyrolysis Challenge aims to produce oil with the properties required for integration either by modifying the pyrolysis process to produce better quality oil directly; or upgrading the oil before or at the refinery.
The Carbon Trust is therefore seeking a potentially wide range of partners to work with, who will commit an element of matching support to deliver a breakthrough in this area. Partners may include refinery technology developers, catalyst developers and research organizations involved in the study of pyrolysis processes, bioenergy and relevant related disciplines.
Through applied research and development, the expected outcomes of the Pyrolysis Challenge include:
Proof of scientific and engineering principle for a novel process for low-cost and low GHG intensity upgrading of biomass pyrolysis oil.
Complete characterization of the upgraded oil, including details of characterization processes and the impact of different feedstocks.
An assessment of the likely commercial and environmental value of any associated co-products and processes for their exploitation.
Development of a large lab-scale or small industrial demonstration unit.
Modelling of the full scale process economics, whole system GHG intensity and key technical parameters.
The Pyrolysis Challenge is the first of several potential strands of the Carbon Trust Bioenergy Accelerator; other areas of focus may include algae biomass systems and novel biofuels.
The Carbon Trust is holding a workshop in Central London on the 11 March 2008 to further explain the pyrolysis challenge and opportunity and give researchers a chance to network. Full details of the process for submission of an Expression of Interest are available on The Carbon Trust website at: www.carbontrust.co.uk/directedresearch.
The Carbon Trust is an independent company set up by the government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by helping organizations reduce their carbon emissions and by developing commercial low carbon technologies.
The Carbon Trust is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and Invest Northern Ireland.