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EU grants €13.9 million for biofuel technology demonstration

The projects aims to build an advanced plant for refining softwood residues into drop-in biofuels (Wikimedia Commons/Yinan Chen)
The projects aims to build an advanced plant for refining softwood residues into drop-in biofuels (Wikimedia Commons/Yinan Chen)

A group of companies including Global Bioenergies, Neste and TechnipFMC have been awarded the money by the European Commission to demonstrate technology that can convert softwood residues into isobutene derivatives for use in gasoline and jetfuel production.

Global Bioenergies announced the start of the three-year project on 14 May. The programme’s goal is to convert ‘undervalued’ softwood residues into isobutene and convert that into gasoline and jetfuel. A new kind of biorefinery that can generate high-performance drop-in biofuel and biojetfuel is being developed to do this. Global Bioenergies will use its isobutene technology along with techniques developed by with Sekab and Neste as part of the effort.

Of the €13.9 million ($16.5 million), €5.7 million has been awarded to Global Bioenergies, which is leading the group of organisations working on the project.

The other participants are Graanul Invest, Repsol, Peab Asfalt, SkyNRG, Ajinomoto Eurolysine, IPSB, TechnipFMC and Linz University. The total budget for the project is €19.7 million, with the €5.7 million not covered by EU grants being contributed by the companies involved.

The project will demonstrate the new value chain for softwood forest residues at cubic meter scale by combining technologies and know-how:

  • Residual softwood supply and processing is being supplied by Graanul Invest
  • Softwood conversion to hydrolysates by Sekab, using its CelluAPP technology
  • Hydrolysates fermentation to bio-isobutene by Global Bioenergies
  • Bio-isobutene conversion to fuel components by Neste Engineering Solutions
  • Preliminary engineering of a wood-to-isobutene plant and overall integration with a fuel conversion unit by TechnipFMC and IPSB
  • Evaluation of gasoline applications by Repsol
  • Evaluation of jetfuel application by SkyNRG
  • Valorisation of the lignin side stream by Peab Asfalt
  • Valorisation of proteins from the dried killed residual biomass by Ajinomoto Eurolysine
  • Assessment of the sustainability and environmental benefits by the Energy Institute at the University of Linz

The money is being administered by the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), which supports the Commission, project partners and stakeholders by offering expertise and programme management. It is expected that the INEA will manage a budget of up to €34.1 billion for 2014-2020 programmes.

The projects aims to build an advanced plant for refining softwood residues into drop-in biofuels (Wikimedia Commons/Yinan Chen)