Calls for pyrolysis partners

The Carbon Trust recently called for Expressions of Interest from potential partners within the scientific community to collaborate in the development of a world-class pyrolysis oil upgrading process.

The Carbon Trust said that over next three to five years it will invest up to £5m in one or more commercially focussed research projects in this area of advanced biofuels.

The Carbon Trust has identified pyrolysis oil from sustainable sources of biomass as having the potential to produce low-cost fuels with low system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, providing it can be integrated into a conventional refinery.

According to the Carbon Trust, the properties of oil produced from current fast pyrolysis processes are far from suitable for direct integration. The Pyrolysis Challenge aims to produce oil with the properties required for integration either by modifying the pyrolysis process to produce better quality oil directly; or upgrading the oil before or at the refinery.

The Carbon Trust is seeking a potentially wide range of partners who will commit an element of matching support to deliver a breakthrough in this area.

Through applied research and development, the expected outcomes of the Pyrolysis Challenge include: proof of scientific and engineering principle for a novel process for low-cost and low GHG intensity upgrading of biomass pyrolysis oil, the development of a large lab-scale or small industrial demonstration unit; and An assessment of the likely commercial and environmental value of any associated co-products and processes for their exploitation.

‘The recent EU announcement that Britain has to generate 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 changes the entire energy equation for the UK,’ said Mark Williamson, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust. ‘Energy from sustainable sources of biomass could have a major role in reducing green house gas emissions from transport.

‘However, many ‘first generation’ biofuel supply chains offer only limited reduction in carbon emissions and their adoption has been driven by other factors. The Carbon Trust therefore seeks to increase the rate at which more advanced ‘second generation’ technologies, that do have the potential to deliver sustainable low-carbon biofuels, come to market.
‘The Pyrolysis Challenge is the first of several potential strands of the Carbon Trust Bioenergy Accelerator, focussed on the sustainable bioenergy challenge. Other areas of focus may include Algae Biomass Systems and Novel Biofuels.’

Click here for details of how to get involved.