The Swedish Energy R&D Board will provide an investment grant for the demonstration at industrial scale of the Chemrec technology for production of the renewable motor fuels BioDME (dimethyl ether) and Biomethanol. The new plant will be built at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik. (The biorefinery Domsjö Fabriker produces specialty cellulose, lignosulfonate and ethanol at Örnsköldsvik,550 km north of Stockholm.) The investment grant of up to SEK 500 million (€49 million, US$72 million) is contingent on approval by the EU Directorate General for Competition.
Earlier this month, Chemrec broke ground on a pulp mill-integrated BioDME biorefinery demonstration plant project in Piteå, Sweden, with expected biofuel production by mid-2010. The project will demonstrate the production of BioDME using black liquor from the pulp mill as feedstock, and will also demonstrate the use of this fuel in heavy vehicles in commercial service. (Earlier post.)
The Örnsköldsvik plant will be based on the Chemrec technology for black liquor gasification combined with technology from the petrochemical industry. Total investment cost is calculated at about SEK 3 billion (€294 million, US$430 million) for a capacity of about 100,000 tonnes or 40 million gallons per year of BioDME and Biomethanol. During the pre-feasibility study phase, liquor from Domsjö Fabriker has been gasified in the Chemrec development plant in Piteå with very good results, according to Chemrec.
Extensive front-end engineering and design work will now be done to provide a solid foundation for final decision on project procurement planned for the fall of 2010.
The Chemrec technology has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 95% compared to gasoline and diesel, replace imported fossil fuels with renewable fuels and to create improved profitability and employment in forest-based industries, says Chemrec’s COO Jonas Rudberg.
The Domsjö plant will have the capacity to supply more than 2,000 heavy trucks with fuel. With fully implemented renewable fuels production at all pulp mills in Sweden, half of all heavy road transports could be propelled by BioDME and Biomethanol. At the same time total Swedish fossil carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 10%&mash;about 6 million tons.
Globally applied, the technology has the potential to replace about 30 million tonnes (about 9.2 billion gallons US, or about 34.8 billion liters) of diesel oil annually, Chemrec says.
We continuously work with product and business development to strengthen the competitive position of our biorefinery, Domsjö Fabriker. With this planned biofuels production we are adding another value-added product to our current product portfolio of specialty cellulose, lignosulfonate and ethanol.—Ola Hildingsson, CEO of Domsjö Fabriker
Chemrec is a Swedish company developing and commercializing technology for black liquor gasification, which when integrated into a pulp mill gives to possibility to produce large quantities of renewable motor fuels or power from biomass. The company’s shareholders include VantagePoint Venture Partners, Volvo Technology Transfer (earlier post), Environmental Technologies Fund and Nykomb Synergetics.