Topsoe and Steeper Energy, a developer of biomass conversion technologies, signed a global licensing agreement for a complete waste-to-fuel solution. The agreement combines Topsoe’s technologies in renewable fuels and hydrogen production as well as decades of experience in engineering with Steeper’s proprietary Hydrofaction technology and industry know-how.
With the agreement, Topsoe will be able to provide a complete waste-to-fuel technology solution and at the same time a one-stop solution for refineries, project developers, and industries having access to excess waste biomass. The end-products include Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), marine biofuel, and renewable diesel from waste biomass.
Steeper recognizes Topsoe as a world leader in developing and implementing renewable refining technologies. Steeper’s Hydrofaction process, when combined with Topsoe’s technology, completes the pathway from biomass waste to drop-in liquid fuels and is compatible with existing refining infrastructure. This reduces capital requirements and allows for the accelerated deployment of these solutions. We are excited to combine our efforts with Topsoe and bring our joint solution to the renewable liquid fuels market.—Bevan May, President, Steeper Energy
Steeper’s Hydrofaction has been validated through various stages of continuous pilot and demonstration-scale plant operations over the past 10 years. With this agreement, the parties are working towards the first commercial scale deployment of Hydrofaction technology.
Simplified Hydrofaction Process
Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) applies supercritical water as a reaction medium for the conversion of biomass directly into a high-energy density renewable biocrude oil. Steeper’s process mimics and accelerates nature by subjecting wet biomass to heat and high pressure. The process conditions are carefully chosen to promote reaction pathways that favor high yields of high-quality renewable oil.
During the Hydrofaction conversion process, the properties of the biocrude are tunable by varying parameters such as temperature, pressure and by introducing catalysts which are customized for Hydrofaction.
Hydrofaction Oil is of higher quality than other biomass-derived oils. It has a particularly low oxygen content of less than 10% by weight. Hydrofaction Oil can often be used in its raw form as a heavy fuel oil (HFO) replacement in large reciprocating internal combustion engines, such as those used for marine propulsion, or used in heating, or power generation applications. Alternatively it can be further upgraded and fractionated into more stringent fuel types (finished fuels) such as diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline.
The inherent low oxygen content of Hydrofaction Oil supports less secondary upgrading to convert the biocrude oil into finished fuels. This feature of Hydrofaction Oil is key to facilitate its processing in existing oil refineries with little or no modification.
The unique composition of Hydrofaction Oil means that it is particularly energy-dense with a heating value of about 38 MJ/kg. This is close to conventional crude oils which have heating values of 42-46 MJ/kg.
Hydrofaction – Energy Balance – (thickness of lines reflect relative mass flows)
With Steeper’s Hydrofaction technology it is possible to convert up to 85% of incoming biomass on an energy basis, making it one of the most effective conversion technologies available.
Steeper Energy was founded in 2011 and is backed by TOM Capital. Steeper is headquartered in Denmark and has locations in Canada. TOM Capital is a Canadian-based private equity firm with investments in numerous industries.