Large-scale fluidized-bed gasification systems have been recently employed in Finland for converting low-grade wood residues and waste fuels to fuel gas to replace fossil fuels in CHP power plants and in industrial kilns. This has created valuable industrial experience and confidence for more demanding syngas applications. However, the recently demonstrated BTL processes based on pressurized oxygen-blown gasifiers coupled with Fischer-Tropsch synthesis are too complex and require very large scales in order to achieve positive economics, which together with technical uncertainties and availability risks have resulted in difficulties in financing the first-of-a-kind industrial plants. A significant penetration of 2G biofuels into the commercial fuel markets can only be achieved by creating new concepts, which are suitable to the smaller size range and have clearly lower capital and operational costs. This is exactly what this project aims to achieve.
In the target process concept biomass residues are gasified in a dual fluidized-bed gasification process, the raw gas is filtered, catalytically reformed and purified from sulfur compounds by zinc oxide-based sorbents. After polishing gas cleaning, the syngas is used in synthesis processes, which are also designed for the target size class of production (30-50 ktoe/a). Synthesis off-gases and by-product heat are used to generate heat and electricity preferably at production units which are integrated to steam cycles of existing power plants.
The central activity of the project is the development and testing of the new gasification process, which will take place at the Bioruukki Piloting Centre of VTT. The suitability of different forest residues, agro-biomasses and waste-derived feedstocks for the new gasification process will be tested. The gas cleaning process will be designed, developed and tested for different target applications. The data from pilot tests will be used in modelling of production concepts for FT-diesel, synthetic natural gas, hydrogen and methanol production. The efficiencies and economic feasibility will be estimated in case studies where the production plants are integrated to different energy consuming industries and municipal CHP units. In addition, follow-up industrial demonstration and flag ship projects will be preliminary planned together with participating industrial partners. Especially optimal plans for realizing critical industrial demonstration plants will be made as part of the case studies of the project.
The project will also review technology development taking place elsewhere and maintain contacts to potential European partners and other stake holders of biofuel value chain. An international seminar will also be organised as part of the dissemination activities of the project.