About the project

Aiming to decrease the pollution from shipping, new rules from the U.N. International Maritime Organization (IMO) will come into force by 2020, that ban ships from using fuels with sulfur content higher than 0.5% w/w. Today, the allowed limit is seven times as high, that is 3,5%, and the global shipping fleet uses millions of barrels of oil daily. As a consequence, the marine transportation is currently facing a high demand for low-sulfur fuels. Restrictions related to the use of low-sulfur fuel (0.1%) in Sulfur Emission Control Areas (SECA) as of 1 January 2015 have also increased the interest of the sector to find alternatives.

But lowering the sulfur content in fuel oil is a process that increases both adds costs and CO2 emissions from refineries. If low sulfur fuels are not used, scrubbers need to be installed to remove the sulfur emissions that take up take up extra space and require extra costs for chemicals and waste water discharge. This projects suggests the preparation of sulfur-free green marine fuels from renewable resources. More specifically, the suggested fuel will consist of a mixture of lignin in ethylene glycol, in which lignin will be derived from wood waste streams after fractionation with organosolv pretreatment while the ethylene glycol will be produced by the conversion of the wood cellulose to ethanol (via fermentation) and catalytic conversion of ethanol to ethylene and dehydration to ethylene glycol. The properties of the fuel will be tested in an HD single cylinder test engine and emissions and fuel efficiency will be quantified. The potential market for this a low-sulfur biofuel for ships will be assessed and a LCA study will be performed in order to assess its environmental performance.


Dimitris Athanassiadis, Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) and Bio4Energy


Paul Christakopoulos, Ulrika Rova and Leonidas Matsakas , Bio4Energy/LTU // Martin Tunér, Lund University // Joanne Ellis, SSPA

Time plan
September 2019 - April 2022

Total project cost
2 309 544 SEK

The Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partners, SLU, Luleå University of Technology, Lund University, SSPA Sweden and Sveaskog.

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program