BioTfuel – Motoring with trash in the tank

Sustainability and climate protection | The biofuel revolution: The next generation will be produced using natural waste. At the moment the process is still very expensive, but thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions and other companies want to get this technology ready for the market with the project BioTfuel.

Scientists agree that the high level of CO2 emissions is the source of global warming. People all over the world have been trying to reduce these levels for years. The respective policies have also influenced the automobile industry. After all, their products are one of the largest sources of the gases that are so damaging to the atmosphere. Along with energy-efficient motors, fuels based on biofuel are meant to help reduce CO2 levels. But these fuels don’t reduce levels enough to reach truly ambitious climate targets. The new generation of biodiesels and biokerosene is meant to help us make the leap with environmentally friendly fuels – also thanks to two Industrial Solutions technologies.

The €180-million project is called BioTfuel. It is pronounced like the word “beautiful.” Our goal is to develop a process chain for Btl fuels (biomass to liquids) to facilitate production that is affordable – and thus practical for mass consumption – by 2020. Alongside Industrial Solutions, companies such as Total, Sofiprotéol, and Axens are also involved. In France, two testing facilities are currently being set up – one to preprocess the raw biomass material in Venette, near Paris, and one in Dunkirk to produce liquid biofuel.The already developed technology POLTORR from Industrial Solutions is essential for the preprocessing in helping to roast green cuttings, straw and wood waste, among other things (see graphic above). Unlike the first generation of biofuels, for which edible crops such as rapeseed, corn or sugar cane are produced, new methods have the advantage of using natural waste. The first biofuels elicited much criticism, since foodstuffs were produced for the tank instead of the table – and that despite the food shortages in many parts of the world.In Dunkirk, another technique developed by Industrial Solutions is being used: PRENFLO. The biomass that has been roasted in Venette is here ground into powder and then transformed to gas. This is a key step in producing Btl fuel. Neither process is new – they have both been tested in other applications, just like all the other technologies that are being combined here for the first time.
Tests will start in 2017. If the project is successful, the Btl fuel could be sold either in pure form, or mixed together with fossil fuel to be used for all vehicles powered by diesel or kerosene. Converting the motors or other types of engine will not be necessary.

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