The technology for producing enough biofuel to meet the need from the Swedish domestic flights is already in place. Now, researchers have found a way to furher improve the technology, stimulating domestic production on a large scale.
Normally, the biomass used in termochemical conversion via gasification needs to be dried, which can present difficulties when feeding it into a pressurized biomass gasifier. The researchers in this project have found a way to hydrothermally pre-treat the biomass, turning it into a liquid slurry that can be pumped into the gasifier. This changes the sensitivity of the conversion to moist material, making it possible to use both wet and mixed residues from forestry and agriculture.
Energy, mass and coal efficiency rates were calculated and found to be well in line with other biofuel production technologies: 34.5, 20.2, and 32.3 percent, respectively. Compared to fossil jetfuel, an LCA analysis shows that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by about 90 percent with the suggested technology. This presupposes using Swedish forest raw materials and Swedish electricity mix in the production process.
However, the investment for industrial implementation is significant and will require different forms of incentives in order for a first plant to be built.
On the upside, the aviation industry has a relatively high willingness to pay for green fuels, as as result of increased environmental awareness from travellers and government incentives in the form of reduction obligations.
The project has been carried out within the collaborative research program Renewable transportation fuels and systems, financed jointly by the Swedish Energy Agency and f3 Centre.