Project has examined future potential performance of four biofuel production pathways based on forest feedstock

The Swedish Energy Agency has identified different transport biofuel production technologies based on forest feedstock as strategically interestingin the future. In a short term, drop-in hydrocarbon based fuels have been pointed out as a priority. In a longer perspective, focus is on high-blend or pure low-molecular biofuels, for reasons of energy and resource efficiency.

A newly finished project within the Swedish Energy Agency and f3 collaborative research program Renewable transportation fuels and systems (Förnybara drivmedel och system) has taken off from this and studied four technology tracks, spanning feasible production pathways. The cases represent two types of feedstock, kraft lignin and forest residues, and two types of production technologies selected selected to be commercially and technically relevant in 2030. Integration with a pulp mill or an oil refinery was considered when relevant.

The project, titled Techno-economics of long and short term technology pathways for renewable transportation fuel production, has evaluated the identified cases with respect to a number of aspects, e.g. energy efficiency, profitability, production potential and GHG performance. Information for the basis of the analysis was retreived from the open literature or from technology developers that chose to share information with the project.

Results from the analysis indicate that production technologies from all four types of production pathways can provide good performance with respect to most of the aspects evaluated. Nevertheless, this assumes that the continued technology development that is still required, in particular for the refinery integrated cases, is successful and leads to demonstration of technology that meets the assumptions made in this study about yields and costs. It can be seen as a paradox that the drop-in biofuel technology tracks based on refinery integration, which are a part of the short term priority in the strategy of the Swedish Energy Agency, are in general based on technologies with the lowest technology maturity.

A concluding report from the project, lead by Erik Furusjö, IVL, with participants also from Bio4Energy (LTU), RISE Bioeconomy and Preem is available is Swedish via the project site. A detailed report in English has been prepared and will be published as soon as a submitted manuscript for scientific publication is accepted.