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EU funds renewable fuels research project

A consortium led by the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) known as IDEALFUEL will develop new, efficient and low-cost methods of producing low-sulphur heavy fuel oils (HFO) from wood-based non-food biomass.

The project has received a €5 million (US$5.4 million) grant from the European Union’s Horizon2020 programme and officially started on 1 May 2020.

Barry Fitzgerald, TU/e spokesperson, told Container News that the timeline for the project is 4 years and it is officially scheduled to finish on 30 April 2024.

Due to environmental concerns and national and international regulations associated with HFO, there is a considerable need for low-cost, cleaner and renewable alternatives to mineral HFO for the maritime industry.

“IDEALFUEL is aiming to develop methods to convert woody materials such as saw dust and wood chips into renewable marine fuels,” stated TU/e. Their approach revolves around the conversion of lignin – the polymer found in the structural materials of plants and trees – from dry plant matter (otherwise known as lignocellulosic biomass) into renewable fuels.

Leading the project of 11 participants based in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Spain is Dr. Roy Hermanns (Mechanical Engineering, TU/e).

To achieve their goal, IDEALFUEL plan to devise an efficient and low-cost two step chemical process. In the first step, lignin is extracted from lignocellulosic biomass in the form of crude lignin oil (CLO), leaving behind a solid cellulose material that can be used in the paper industry or even converted into ethanol.

In the second step, the CLO is refined and converted into a Biogenic HFO (Bio-HFO) that can be used in combination with traditional fossil fuels in a fuel blend or neat in the engines of the world’s maritime fleet.

IDEALFUEL is a broad collaboration taking care of the complete value chain from production of CLO to the end-user. IDEALFUEL is coordinated by TU/e and involves participants from four EU countries.

  • Vertoro B.V. (The Netherlands)
  • Tec4Fuels GmbH (Germany)
  • BLOOM Biorenewables Sarl (Switzerland)
  • Uniresearch B.V. (The Netherlands)
  • Winterthur Gas & Diesel Ltd. (Switzerland)
  • SeaNRG (The Netherlands)
  • thyssenkrupp Marine Systems GmbH (Germany)
  • OWI Oel-Waerme-Institut GmbH (Germany)
  • Agenica Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Spain)
  • Varo Energy Netherlands B.V. (The Netherlands)

Antonis Karamalegkos

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