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Advanced sustainable BIOfuels for Aviation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BIO4A (Advanced sustainable BIOfuels for Aviation)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2019-11-01 do 2021-04-30

Decarbonizing & reducing aviation dependence on fossil fuel requires biofuels. Considering that the aviation industry is growing by 4 - 5 % each year, efficiency measures like new aircraft/engines and more efficient flight operation result in efficiency savings of approximately 1 - 2 % each year.
To reach the industry targets of 50% reduction in 2050 reducing emissions through other measures is becoming indispensable.
The major and almost unique short - medium term solution is the adoption of Sustainable Alternative Fuels (SAF). However, today SAF are available only in rather small amounts compared to the jet fuel demand. It is therefore vital to scale up commercial production in Europe.
Furthermore, the scalability of the HEFA pathway (the main commercial pathway as of today) is limited, due to constrained availability of truly sustainable feedstock sources. Bio4A therefore defined two main objectives for the action:

1. Increase EU installed capacity and supply, and prove SAF production on commercial scale in Europe with residual lipids
2. Develop Low-ILUC feedstock strategies to increase the potential supply of EU sustainable lipids to HEFA pathway

Bio4A will produce at least 5,000 tons of sustainable biojet for its use in aviation at commercial scale, accelerating its deployment within the aviation sector and contributing to the achievement of the EU targets.
Bio4A is also developing a R&D strategy for low-ILUC biofuels in marginal lands of Southern EU, composed by three main complementary pillars: (1) use of compost, (2) use of biochar as a Negative Emission Technology, and (3) cultivation of selected varieties of drought resistant oil crops suitable for aviation fuel production, such as Camelina sativa.
The proposed solutions will also sequester C from the atmosphere, as biochar is mainly fixed and recalcitrant C that will remain in the soil for hundreds’ years: this is in full line with the Paris COP21 indication to develop Carbon Negative actions.
SAF from waste feedstock have the potential of achieving significant GHG emissions reduction associated to biofuel production. The use of LCA will allow to evaluate bio jet fuel chain in order to prove carbon emission reduction compared to fossil Jet A1 of at least 60%.
Expected social impacts will be assessed for human and labor rights, rural and social development, number of jobs created, among others.
Start-up of La Mède plant, converted to biomass feedstock
Total has started up production of biofuel at the La Mède biorefinery in southeastern France in July 2019, converting a former oil refinery into a renewable-energy complex.
La Mède complex now encompasses:

• A biorefinery with a capacity of 500,000 tons of biofuel per year.
• An 8-megawatt solar farm that can supply 13,000 people.
• A unit to produce 50,000 cubic meters per year of AdBlue®, an additive that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from trucks.

Biochar and COMBI test in arid land in Spain with Camelina
RE-CORD produced biochar in its pilot facilities, then co-composted it with digestate from biomass-based anaerobic digestion plant, producing COMBI, which was chemically and biologically characterized, and then delivered to CCE in Spain.
The carbonization pilot unit was modified to comply with the specific requirements of Bio4A.
A rotary kiln pyrolizer and an innovative moving bed pyrolizer will also be available for testing with agro-residues.
CCE is performing a microplot field trial in two different semi-arid dryland locations in Spain (Madrid and Ciudad Real) in order to determine the effects of Biochar addition on soil and crop performance.
As a contribution to environmental sustainability assessment, the JRC has been refining a number of processes-based biogeochemical and physical models to assess key performance indicators to evaluate the environmental aspects of the proposed value chain, specifically in relation to soil organic carbon and nitrogen fluxes, soil erosion vulnerability and soil bacterial diversity.
UCO pre-treatment
REC started experimental investigation on a direct thermochemical deoxygenation process of triglycerides and fatty acids, which are the main UCO constituents, allowing a considerable energy saving during the biomass energy conversion to renewable hydrocarbons.
Logistics, markets and policy
SkyNRG, in collaboration with project partners engaged in the tasks, completed two deliverables in the period M1-M18, building towards the two main aims of the Bio4A project.
These deliverables addressed the understanding of the HEFA pathway and the scalability of this route around Europe. The first report investigated the market dynamics, while the second one discussed the business case of HEFA refineries in Europe.
KPI analysis
CENER is developing in collaboration with RE-CORD the assessment of value chain of biojet by means of defined KPI. CENER will evaluate process pathways with TRL below 5-6. RE-CORD is evaluating technology pathways at TRL higher than 5-6, corresponding to ‘drop-in’ jet fuels approved under the specifications of the ASTM D7566 standard.
Communication and Dissemination
During the first 18 months ETA led the consortium in developing an overall plan for the dissemination and the communication of the project’s activities. A preliminary Data Management Plan was developed, and two open-access scientific articles were published.
Bio4A will demonstrate the full value chain, enabling a production capacity of 2-300 kt/y of biojet in a First Of A Kind new biorefinery in France.
The Total La Mède refinery has been converted to sustainable lipids.
The entire biorefinery started in the HVO-Green diesel mode.
Tests for jet-mode operation started as well.
REC worked towards a standardized characterization of biochar and COMBI. In parallel, lysimeters are currently in construction, for detailed testing of biochar/COMBI effects in controlled conditions.
A new Camelina variety has been selected by CCE, to be cultivated in semi-arid regions (definitely, low-ILUC risk feedstocks) where there are no oilseed alternatives at the moment. Tests with Camelina varieties previously identified (e.g. in FP7 ITAKA) are ongoing.
An optimized agronomic protocol is being defined for the amendment of soil with biochar and COMBI, to upgrade marginal land with high risk of desertification.
EC JRC is adapting its state-of-the-art process-based pan-EU biogeochemical modelling platform that simulates carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) flows to consider the introduction of biochar as a soil amendment. The model will be run for the period 2016-2050 using the RCP4.5 climatic scenario.
The impact on soil microbiological biodiversity will also be assessed, in line with developments within the CAP to demonstrate positive impacts of agriculture on biodiversity.
The expected results from the environmental analysis are that Bio4A value chain achieve GHG saving of at least 60% - targeting 70% - compared to 83.3 gCO2 eqMJ jet fuel.
The implementation of the Plan for Exploitation and Dissemination of Results (PEDR) will generate awareness on the available solutions, the opportunities for the industrial production and supply of sustainable aviation fuels, the recovery of EU MED marginal lands with oil crops and the combined use of biochar and compost.
Camelina biochar trials - flowering stage
Initial modelling output to assess changes in fluxes of C and N as a result of crop type