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Biorefinery combining HTL and FT to convert wet and solid organic, industrial wastes into 2nd generation biofuels with highest efficiency

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - Heat-To-Fuel (Biorefinery combining HTL and FT to convert wet and solid organic, industrial wastes into 2nd generation biofuels with highest efficiency)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2022-04-30

Transportation fuels corresponded in 2013 to 31.6% of the total energy consumption in Europe. The source of this energy depends to a large extent on fossil fuels import, being diesel and kerosene the two major fuels for heavy trucks and air transportation. Thus, decarbonised production of diesel and kerosene as alternative to fossil fuels becomes relevant for reducing carbon emissions in these two means of transport.
Heat-to-Fuel (HtF) will spearhead EU’s research in grasping the opportunity to provide efficient technologies and processes generating decarbonized fuels for the transportation sector.
Fischer-tropsch (FT) and aqueous phase reforming (APR) are promising technologies for the efficient production of 2nd generation fuels. But similarly to the situation of many other biofuel technologies, their economic border conditions don’t allow their implementation. The radical innovation of combining an APR with a FT reactor is the basis to overcome this barrier.
As shown in the HtF process scheme, the organic waste feedstock is separated into two streams, the "dry" and the "wet" route. Several questions concerning the process specification have been answered by fundamental research performed during the first year of the project. The results show that the HtF process is in the position to handle any organic waste feedstock, there are just some minor limitations within gasification, mainly concerning the physicochemistry of feedstock’s ash. For this reason several feedstocks are tested in three different scales at the moment in Poland, Spain and France. The solution for this issue will be the key to unlocking the main potential of HtF biorefinery. On the other hand, wet organic wastes (i.e. from hydrothermal liquefaction or other streams) can be conveniently treated with APR to produce renewable H2.
There are a lot of synergies between these two conversion platforms. In general, thermal conversion of organic waste feedstock often demand large quantities of hydrogen, so production of H2 from C-laden waste water is of large benefit. Another positive effect of the combination APR-HTL is that the waste water of HTL is treated within the process itself, so no additional waste streams are generated. Besides the mass integration, a perfect heat integration is under development at the moment. As shown in the scheme the dry route is exothermic, whereas HTL and APR lack this enthalpy. Thus convertion of both dry and wet organic wastes can be integrated with mutual advantages. Using the synergies between these technologies maximizes the total process efficiency. Thus, Heat-to-Fuel aims will be met thanks to the diversification of feedstocks available for production of biofuels, reducing the supply costs and upgrading the conversion efficiencies.
HtF process scheme