Unlocking organic residues for industry by combining two innovative technologies

Publieke samenvatting / Public summary

In the coming decades, the chemical and transport sectors will remain (partly) dependent on a carbon source as a raw material to produce various materials and fuels. By using 'green carbon', the emission of additional carbon (CO2) into the atmosphere can be prevented. The use of green carbon sources is currently limited due to a combination of social, technical, and economic factors. Particularly, the use of woody types of biomass is under pressure. Using biogenic waste streams instead of woody biomass is desirable. Fast Pyrolysis of biomass is one of the technologies for industry to reduce the fossil footprint. The production of Fast Pyrolysis Bio Oil (FPBO) has been demonstrated in recent years, but the raw material for commercial FPBO production today is based on clean residual wood.

The aim of the project is to use low-quality, biogenic residual feedstocks as raw materials for the chemical industry and the transport sector. This will reduce the need for fossil-based feedstocks and offers opportunities to convert waste streams with low economic value for higher value applications. The use of FPBO as a green carbon source has already been proven up to TRL 6-7 in various industrial applications. However, this FPBO is produced from relatively clean residual wood sources. The aim of this project is to use low-quality biogenic feedstocks for FPBO production, with the aim of optimizing the entire value chain from raw material to product. Two production techniques (TORWASH & Fast Pyrolysis) will be combined to close industrial carbon cycles. One of the main performance indicators is the carbon efficiency.

Korte omschrijving
A variety of low value biogenic feedstocks will be treated using the TORWASH technology to produce an intermediate product suitable for FPBO production. The process conditions are varied per residual feedstock to determine the influence on carbon efficiency and final product quality. Critical preconditions such as avoiding toxic wastewater and the energy requirements are considered to develop an industrially applicable process. Operational flexibility to process heterogeneous residual feedstocks of varying quality is also a crucial point of attention. The effect of process conditions in the TORWASH process on FPBO quality will also be investigated. Overall, optimization of the carbon efficiency is an important parameter. In the project, the value chains will be evaluated based on the experimental results to achieve optimization over the entire value chain.

The result of the project is that fossil carbon as a raw material for transport fuels and industrial products will be replaced by green carbon. In the Netherlands for example, roadside grass and invasive aquatic species can be converted via TORWASH and Pyrolysis into raw materials to produce advanced biofuels for the marine sector and substitutes for fossil phenol in various resin applications. The flexible nature of this value chain is ideal to utilize these residue streams, after TORWASH the material is dry and storable, reducing the seasonal availability issues. The fast pyrolysis process is suitable to convert a variety of feedstock, where co-feeding seasonal residues provides a low-risk way to diversify the feedstock basis. Another important result of the project is the technology as an export product. Residual streams such as agricultural residues or paper sludge, which are widely available internationally, can be converted locally into FPBO.