|Principal units of Chemrec’s oxygen-blown, pressurized black liquor gasification development plant 1 (DP1) in Piteå, Sweden. Click to enlarge.|
The European project BioDME has begun, with the first project meeting held today at Chemrec’s plant in Piteå, Sweden. The goal of BioDME is to demonstrate production of environmentally optimized synthetic biofuel from lignocellulosic biomass at industrial scale. The final output of this demonstration is dimethyl ether (DME) produced from black liquor via gasification and a final fuel synthesis step.
Project partners include Chemrec; Delphi Diesel Systems; Energy Technology Centre (ETC); Haldor Topsøe; PREEM Petroleum; Total; and the Volvo Group, which is the coordinator for the project.
Chemrec and Haldor Topsøe will construct the world’s first plant for producing DME from biomass, with output of 4-5 tons daily. Preem will implement the DME distribution and build four filling stations. Volvo will demonstrate DME technology for heavy vehicles in a field test of 14 trucks. ETC will evaluate performance characteristics in the pilot plant, Delphi delivers fuel injection equipment for the truck engines and Total will work on fuel and lube oil specifications.
The consortium agreement between the seven international partners was recently signed and the project approved by EU. The project is co-financed by the partners of the consortium, EU’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) and the Swedish Energy Agency with a total estimated cost of €28 million (US$40 million).
The BioDME plant is based on Chemrec’s patented black liquor gasification technology (a pressurized, entrained-flow oxygen-blown gasification system) and Haldor Topsøe’s DME synthesis process. Topsøe has been involved in developing technology, catalyst, applications and the market for Dimethyl Ether (DME) since the early 1980s and supplies the catalyst to the Zagros DME plant in Iran.
DME has the potential to become a competitive renewable alternative to fossil fuels. DME from biomass is characterized by high energy efficiency and minimal climate impact. DME vehicles have very low exhaust emissions, due among other factors to soot-free combustion. DME is a non-toxic, environmentally benign compound already today used extensively as propellant gas in spray cans.
BioDME Project Site
Mats Lindblom and Ingvar Landälv (2007) CHEMREC’S Atmospheric & Pressurized BLG (Black Liquor Gasification) Technology – Status and Future Plans
Optimum Technology for DME manufacturing (Haldor Topsøe)