BioTfuel partners move ahead to construction of two demo plants; thermochemical conversion of biomass to synthetic diesel and kerosene
18 November 2014
The European BioTfueL project—which aims to develop a technology for the thermochemical conversion of second-generation biomass into synthetic diesel and kerosene (bio-jet) fuel with a more than 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel (earlier post)—has ended its engineering phase and is moving forward to the construction of two demonstration plants.
One plant is to be at the Sofiprotéol site in Venette (Picardy), the other at the Total site in Dunkirk (Etablissement des Flandres, Nord-Pas de Calais).
Bionext has just awarded the construction contracts for the main packages at Total’s Dunkirk site to the French SMEs Prosernat (for syngas treatment) and RBL-REI (for feedstock preparation) and to ThyssenKrupp-Industrial Solutions for the gasification unit and overall site integration. Since 1 September, more than 100 people have been mobilized to launch the construction phase. The start-up of the Dunkirk plant is scheduled for 2017.
BioTfueL’s concept is based on its capacity to process the broadest spectrum of biomass or to co-process it with fossil resources, both liquid and solid. The use of lignocellulosic biomass (wood, straw, plant residues, etc.) will supplement the current supply of first-generation biofuels (based on sugar, starch and vegetable oils).
This flexibility enables continuity of supply for future industrial plants while at the same time reducing production costs. BioTfueL is the first project targeting such a high level of flexibility in terms of feedstocks. At present, it is the only project in Europe presenting a homogeneous level of progress in terms of demonstrating the full chain on various scales, from biomass preparation through to production of liquid products that can be fully incorporated into conventional fuels.
The partners are committed to a project worth €180 million (US$224 million), with a little more than €33 million provided by public funding, via the ADEME and the Picardy regional council. Almost €110 million will be invested to build the TOTAL Dunkirk demonstration plant and almost €12 million to construct the Sofiprotéol Venette demonstration plant.
Total has a 31% stake in the BioTfuel project, IFPEN 30%, Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions 19%, Sofiprotéol 12%, CEA 5%, and Axens 3%.
A 90% reduction is really good. I can see now why Volvo is backing away from its DME fueled truck engine plans: The EPA determined that biogas-based DME produced from the Oberon process resulted in an approximate 68% reduction in greenhouse gases when compared to baseline diesel fuel. I'd take 90% over 68% too.
Posted by: ai_vin | 18 November 2014 at 11:48 AM
Having said that I should note that DME does burn cleaner. It's a gas when it reaches the combustion chamber and it burns so cleanly a diesel doesn't need all those after treatments a baseline or bio-diesel fueled engine needs to pass emission tests. And as a plus DME can act as an efficient hydrogen carrier for fuel cells.
Posted by: ai_vin | 18 November 2014 at 01:18 PM