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Bio-oil from wood

Conventional fuel oils can be replaced by wood-based bio-oil. VTT partners with Metso Power, Fortum and UPM in a development project which further develops the bio-oil production process based on VTT’s patent.

Bio-oil production can be integrated into co-generation of electricity and heat for forestry industry and communities. This is possible by integration of a bio-oil reactor with a power plant’s fluidised-bed boiler. Modern biomass power plants use fluidised-bed boilers. The objective is to enable significant bio-oil production capacity by 2020.

VTT as a partner in the development of bio-oil technology

The key to the VTT patent is the integration of a fluidised-bed boiler with a pyrolysis process. Produced in this way, bio-oil is more cost-efficient than when produced in a separate pyrolysis process. The efficiency of integrated production is higher than that of separate production, and the investment and utilisation costs are lower than in the case of separate production.

Refining of biomass into biofuel has not yet been implemented on an industrial scale. This company consortium has built a pilot plant producing bio-oil at Metso Power’s R&D research centre, where integrated bio-oil production is realised for the first time in the world. Since 2009, the pilot plant has produced more than 100 tonnes of bio-oil. This oil has been used for heat production in Fortum’s district heating boiler in Kirkkonummi.

The VTT development work aims at facilitating biofuel production on a step-by-step basis. The production from the first bio-oil plants would replace fossil fuels. When the technology has been proved feasible on an industrial scale, bio-oil can be further refined, for instance, into transport fuel. This alternative is still in a laboratory phase of development. VTT is also currently involved in a development project in which the Centre collaborates with an American research institute with the aim of having the new technology in a commercially demonstrable form by 2020.

More information about VTT bio oil research


Additional information

Yrjö Solantausta
Senior Principal Scientist
+358 20 722 5517

Matti Nieminen
Key Account Manager
+358 20 722 6587