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German biomass plant produces first gasoline

The bioliq® pilot plant at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has produced its first batch of gasoline fuel from straw.

The complete bioliq process comprises four stages. In the first stage, dry residual biomass which possesses a low energy content is subjected to decentralized conversion by flash pyrolysis into a substance of high energy density similar to crude oil. This substance, bioliqSynCrude, is subjected to further central processing. A high-pressure entrained flow gasifier converts the bioliqSynCrude to a tar-free syngas at temperatures above 1200°C and pressures of up to 80 bar. This synthesis gas is mainly composed of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. By means of downstream hot gas cleaning, impurities like particular matter, chlorine and nitrogen compounds are separated from the syngas. 

KIT, in cooperation with Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH, says that all stages of the process have now been realized, and the project will now be completed by testing the entire process chain and optimising it for large industrial scale.

“The plant sections that have already started operation and the new synthesis stage of the bioliq® pilot plant make up a unique demonstration plant at KIT,” says KIT vice president for research and innovation, Dr Peter Fritz. “At the same time, bioliq® is an excellent platform for research into the use of sustainable biomass for purposes other than food production.” 

“We can test new developments directly in the pilot plant on a scale relevant to industry,” added Professor Jörg Sauer, head of the KIT Institute of Catalysis Research and Technology (IKFT). “In this way, our research findings will be commercialized much more rapidly in the future.” 

The construction of the bioliq synthesis stage has an investment volume of about €22 milion, of which 50 per cent was financed by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection (BMELV) and from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The remaining investment costs have been borne by KIT and Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH. 

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