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Researchers are planning to use a two-stage, thermo-catalytic process to convert biomass into renewable crude oil.


The search for climate-friendly fuels to replace diesel and reduce emissions in the transport sector is expanding all the time. The latest solution comes from the paper industry, an abundant source of biogenic residues (it produces more than two million tonnes of fibre residues a year) from which carbon-neutral biofuels can be processed.

The Reststoff2Kraftstoff project has been kicked off by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), working together with industrial and academic partners. The researchers are planning to use a two-stage, thermo-catalytic process to convert the biomass into renewable crude oil at temperatures of 800 degrees centigrade. A large-scale pilot plant for producing the climate-neutral crude oil will be built on site of the paper manufacturer LEIPA in Schwedt.

The crude is then processed into carbon-neutral petrol and diesel. And finally, the product will be tested on and off road in BMW and MAN engines. The team will also be looking at how the refining process can be modified so that the biofuels emit fewer soot particles, and whether bio-crude oil can be used within the existing infrastructure of conventional oil refineries. In this respect, the team is working with Gunvor Group refineries.

Within the scope of the project, the legal and regulatory framework of the new biofuels will be evaluated. The Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, the East Bavarian Technical University Amberg-Weiden and the chemicals company Clariant Produkte GmbH are involved partners.