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UPM, Fortum and Valmet partnering to develop new catalytic pyrolysis technology for advanced lignocellulosic fuels

Fortum, UPM and Valmet have joined forces to develop a new catalytic pyrolysis technology to produce advanced high value lignocellulosic fuels, such as transportation fuels or higher value bio-liquids.

The five-year project is called LignoCat (lignocellulosic fuels by catalytic pyrolysis). The project is a natural continuation of the consortium’s earlier bio-oil project together with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, commercializing integrated pyrolysis technology for production of sustainable bio-oil for replacement of heating oil in industrial use.

In this project, the target is to develop novel integrated technology to produce high value biofuels to replace fossil transportation fuels, and thereby create new business for the consortium companies.

According to several studies pyrolysis technology is seen as the most competitive route to produce advanced lignocellulosic biofuels, and is one of the most efficient routes for meeting EU2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

We will develop pyrolysis technology enabling improvement of bio-oil quality compatible for further refining to transportation fuels or intermediate products. This is a business opportunity for us, which will lead to new sustainable processes and products. We see a great potential in this project and look forward to continued cooperation.

—Jussi Mäntyniemi, Director, Technology and R&D, Valmet

Successful project execution will help utilities and the forest industry sector in making investment decisions for entering advanced biofuel production. UPM’s knowledge of biofuels plays a key role in the project.

Our aim is to become a significant advanced biofuel producer. In accordance with our strategy, we will start production in Lappeenranta with crude tall oil residue as a raw material, and simultaneously we are looking for ways of producing biofuels out of solid wood biomass. Catalytic pyrolysis is one of the promising options we are looking into.

—Petri Kukkonen, Vice President, UPM Biofuels

This project is a straight continuation to our first CHP (Combined Heat and Power)-integrated bio oil investment in Joensuu and supports perfectly our strategy to increase total efficiency and value of our fleet of CHPs. The project’s scope opens us the possibility to explore interesting new business opportunities and to define our role in the production chain of advanced biofuels.

—Jukka Heiskanen, Head of R&D at Fortum’s Heat business

The LignoCat project is funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The outcome, if successful, would lead to the market introduction of a new sustainable product that will reduce CO2 emissions in the transportation and heating sectors. The project will create a knowledge cluster within biorefining for universities, research centres and consortium partners.


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