Roush Yates to Supply Ford EcoBoost V6 Engines for American Le Mans
Report: Honda to Aggressively Price New Fit Hybrid In Japan

$2.2M Project to Advance Bio-Oil As Basis for Renewable Chemicals, Fuels and Energy

Aston University’s (UK) Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) is involved in a £1.4-million (US$2.2 million), two-year project aimed at developing technology for producing and fractionating bio-oil components as a basis for a biorefinery producing green chemicals, transportation fuels and energy.

The Bio-oil Refinery Project is part funded by the Research Council of Norway (RENERGI) program, and will develop new, integrated bio-oil technology to transform biomass more efficiently into biofuels through fast pyrolysis.

Coordinated by the Paper and Fibre Institute (PFI) in Norway, The Bio-oil Refinery Project involves Aston University and several partners from Norway and Sweden.

Biomass liquefaction is done by fast pyrolysis, a pretreatment technology that is very flexible with respect to feedstock. Fast pyrolysis also brings efficient energy densification, which makes the technology suitable for decentralized bio-oil production of wood waste materials with favorable transport costs.

his project will serve to form an international network between industry, academia and research institutes. We need to develop more efficient technologies to not only make bio-oil viable on a large scale at lower costs, but also to derive transportation fuels with similar objectives.

—Tony Bridgwater, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Head of BERG at Aston University

BERG has coordinated 11 substantial EC sponsored RTD projects and is managing SUPERGEN, a UK University Consortium in thermal biomass conversion, PyNe, a biomass pyrolysis network, and ThermalNet, a new European network for biomass pyrolysis, gasification and combustion.



This is good. Renewable materials for polymers and other chemical products is both (a) a thumb in the eye of those who say we'll lose it all when oil runs out and (b) good policy. There is more than enough biomass to supply people with plenty of plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc.

The energy content is less important. There isn't enough energy in the available biomass to replace fossil fuels. However, whatever isn't used for chemistry might as well go for energy. If the energy systems also sequester carbon, that's a three-fer.


Good points E-P. Bio-chemicals may be sustainable when ground vehicles are electrified and less bio-fuels are needed. The world can produce enough electricity without fossil fuels. Eventually, we may find a way to convert electricity into liquid fuels and chemicals.

With increased world population and increasing energy consumption, more land will be used to produce the extra food required, leaving less for bio-fuels. The price of grains is already going up. Wheat at $8+/bushel by year end will affect (many) food price soon.


Wheat may go up, but what is the market for wheat straw? Some will say that they need that for the land and to a certain degree that is true. They know how much is needed for the land and how much can be used for fuel. There will be those that say we do not have enough for all cars all the time, so forget it. I do not understand that sort of "thinking".


SJC: Future cars (HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs) will use much less fuel and eventually no liquid fuel at all. However, 12+ billion people will need more food. Most available land may eventually be required to feed people and to produce essential chemicals.

It wouldn't be fair to have a competition for land use between people and vehicles. There's enough sunny desert land to supply energy for 6++ billion BEVs.

There's enough fossil energy left for another century or so but those sources will all peak soon.


HarveyD, If we get to 12+ billion people, we won't be worried about how to travel -- just how to survive. Malthus was right.


What do we do between now and the supposed no need for liquid fuels? Do you think people will eat wheat straw? This is NOT any food fuel debate, it is using waste for fuel. In this EV utopia, where will the fuel come for commercial jet airplanes?

If we took your recommendations we would just all wait for the electrified world and not do anything else. Then when it does not show up fast enough we could all just fight each other for what is thanks. I want plans A,B and C all going in parallel, putting all of your faith in some "vision" may become a delusion that you regret.

The comments to this entry are closed.