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Making bio-oil more efficient than diesel

Bio-oil could become a more efficient source of renewable energy with a potential of replacing fossil fuels such as diesel, according to a £1.4 million project.

The Bio-oil Refinery Project, part funded by the Research Council of Norway, aims to develop integrated bio-oil technology to transform biomass more efficiently into biofuels through fast pyrolysis.

The project will amongst other things, look at turning biomass material such as tree bark and waste wood into usable bio-oil for heat power and transportation needs.

The two year scheme will help develop fast pyrolysis bio-oil technology, which in the long term could potentially create a range of energy benefits, not least as a mainstream oil alternative for diesel fuels.

According to the project, “pyrolysis oil has a number of advantages over fossil fuels as it is renewable, non-toxic and in case of any spillage it does not spread on water like petroleum. Bio-oil is also more suitable for long-distance transportation than other renewable fuel sources including raw biomass or wood pellets due to its high energy density.”

The bio-oil project is coordinated by the Paper and Fibre Institute in Norway, and involves Aston University, UK, and several partners from Norway and Sweden.

Tony Bridgwater, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Head of the Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) at Aston University says: “This project will serve to form an international network between industry, academia and research institutes. We need to develop more efficient technologies to not only make bio-oil viable on a large scale at lower costs, but also to derive transportation fuels with similar objectives. Aston University’s experience in fast pyrolysis and biofuel production technologies for biomass and fuel and chemical products will play a crucial part in the project.”

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