Bioenergy and biofuels
Our key research areas in the bioenergy field include:
• biomass fuel and biomaterial production, handling and treatment technologies;
• low-emission combustion and gasification solutions for the production of biomass fuels for heat and electricity production and for transportation;
• increasing the variety of fuels used in heat and power plants;
• modelling industrial flows and combustion;
• biotechnical processing plant concepts for the production of new refined biofuels; and
• fuel cells and hydrogen technology.
A main goal of bioenergy research is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of electricity by creating preconditions for increased use of biomass fuels for different purposes and size classes. On the other hand, our goal is to develop new technologies and new solutions to produce low-emission transportation fuels based on biomaterials and bio-based products replacing fossil fuels. In these research fields, our goal is to strengthen the significance of Finnish bioenergy expertise on the international market and to strengthen the production and competitiveness of bioenergy on a global scale. We will accomplish these goals by developing:
• more cost-effective and low-emission biomass fuel production and logistics chains
• electricity and heat production solutions based on renewable energy sources and carbon dioxide capture
• production concepts of transportation and synthetic fuels integrated with the forest industry and other industries
• solutions combining the utilisation of materials and energy
• energy solutions based on fuel cells for decentralised energy production.
Main research challenges
A main future challenge of the energy industry is to curb climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Solutions based on bioenergy and carbon dioxide capture play an important role in the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, the demand for biomaterial for different applications is significantly increasing. The growing demand leads to the expansion and diversification of the variety of fuels used in electricity and heat production, such as agricultural biomass and non-recyclable fractions of waste. The broadening of the variety of fuels often means, from a production, treatment and energy production technology perspective, a more challenging use of these fuels in various size classes. Another main challenge in the energy and environment industry is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. Several transportation fuel production technologies are under development world-wide. Their competitiveness will be verified in the near future by constructing demonstration plants.
VTT employes 140 reserchers at bioenergy field and has versatile research facilities for laboratory, bench and pilot scale research e.g. facilities for biomass fuel production, handling and treatment technologies, fluidised bed combustion, grate combustion, small-scale combustion, gasification and pyrolysis.