Importance of Biochemistry

fuel made from biomass made economical by a smart concept

Fuel made from biomass


Fuel made from biomass made economical by smart concept :

The first stone of a biomass fuel pilot plant was laid on 4 November 2005. This facility, which will be built at Forchungszentrum Karlsruhe (FZK) in Germany with the participation of industrialists and the Agency for Raw Materials in biomass base (FNR), will aim to test the overall process of biofuel production, from biomass to the pump.


The production of synthetic fuels and chemicals made from biomass reduces dependence on oil and the emission of CO 2 . In addition, biomass is the only renewable carbon energy that can be used to produce chemicals. Unused materials , such as straw, alone could provide 10% of current German fuel requirements.

The disadvantage of biomass is its low density , resulting in significant transportation costs. A process developed at FZK, called “bioliq” or BTL (Biomass To Liquid) solves this problem and produces good quality fuel suitable for future engine generations. It breaks down into 2 stages: first of all, the biomass is transformed in fast pyrolysis plants into an intermediate product with a 10 times higher energy concentration (comparable to that of crude oil). This product, called  slurry , can then be brought by train to a centralized facility for gas production ( hydrogen and carbon monoxide) and the synthesis of fuels. The majority of biomass will be straw and other woody cellulose substances , which account for more than 90% of agricultural biomass, but scrap wood , bark and paper are not excluded. The cost of a liter of fuel will be around 1 euro, knowing that fuel from biomass is zero-rated in Germany until 2009.

Two industrialists participate in the project. On the one hand, Lurgi AG of Frankfurt is studying a process of rapid pyrolysis from biomass. On the other hand, Future Energy of Freiberg (Saxony) is dedicated to high- pressure gasification . The investment for the pilot plant amounts to 23 million euros.

The automotive industry (VW and Daimler-Chrysler) is interested in biofuel synthesis for engine development with reduced emissions and consumption. China is also interested in the process, which could cover some of its growing fuel needs.

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