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VTT takes the lead on second generation biofuels
VTT has launched gasification equipment to develop second generation biofuels.
VTT is currently developing new biomass gasification and gas cleaning technologies to produce synthesis gas and ultra clean fuel gas in a national R&D project called the ‘UCG-project’.
The work involves refining synthesis gas from biomass to produce diesel fuels for transportation. The extensive test operation will guide the ongoing design of an industrial demonstration plant. The work will also seek new solutions for gas turbine and fuel cell power plants, and the application of hydrogen for transport.
The technology will be commercialised in three phases. The new test plant, recently launched, will output 500 kW. The second phase, that will verify the risk-free operation of the plant, will output 50 MW and be launched in 2008-2009. Phase three, from 2010 onwards, will see the construction of a demonstration plant that will cover about half of the biofuel demand needed to meet the EU biofuel directive target in Finland (5.75 per cent of the road transport fuels by 2010).
Total costs are estimated at €300 million. In the commercial plant, the estimated production costs of synthetic biodiesel is 0.45-0.60€/litre. In Europe, the estimated market for transport biofuels is approximately 20 million tons after 2010, or an annual turnover of €15 billion.
The €4 million budget, makes this one of the largest energy projects ever financed by the Finnish Government’s technology body, Tekes. Project partners are Helsinki University of Technology, Neste Oil, Foster Wheeler Energy, Andritz, Vapo, Pohjolan Voima and major forest industry companies UPM, StoraEnso, M-Real and MetsäBotnia.
The plant will be able to exploit all types of biomass-forest industry residues, bark, agro-biomass, refuse-derived fuels and peat. The crucial role of Finland’s forest industry means the project will look at how to exploit forest industry residues and by-products without risking the supply of raw-materials to the industry. Existing logistics mean that synthesis gasification is specifically being developed in connection with forest industry plants.
Esa Kurkela, VTT development manager, said: “New production technologies can cut in half the additional costs incurred by the national economy from the use of biofuels. Additionally, using domestic raw-materials, the share of biofuels in Finland could amount to 20 per cent by 2020.”
Contact: Esa Kurkela, +358 40 502 6231, firstname.lastname@example.org.