New technique to convert biomass into crude oil substitute

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 08, 2013 08:00 hrs

Copenhagen, Feb 8 (IANS) A revolutionary new technique converts all kinds of biomass into high grade crude bio-oil, which can potentially replace fossil fuel, by the virtue of being similar to natural crude.

Developed by two Danish researchers, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) accepts sewage sludge, manure, wood, compost and plant material, and wastes from household, meat factories and dairy production for oil conversion.

It can help existing refinery technology, with a simple thermal upgrade, to subsequently obtain all the liquid fuels we know today, developed by the partnership of Aarhus and Aalborg universities in Denmark.

Besides HTL consumes only 10-15 percent of the energy in the feedstock biomass, yielding an energy efficiency of 85-90 percent. It is by far the most feedstock flexible of any liquid fuel producing process in existence, according to an Aarhus and Aalborg statement.

The water emanating from the HTL process has low carbon contents and can either be recycled into the process or ultimately be purified to attain drinking water quality, which is the long-term goal. As such, HTL replaces the burden of disposal with the benefit of recycling.

The bio-oil from HTL can be used as-produced in heavy engines or it can be hydrogenated or thermally upgraded to obtain diesel-, gasoline- or jet-fuels by existing refinery technology.

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