Dutch technology group and sustainable marine fuel pioneer GoodFuels on Thursday (14 November) said it exploring options for joint investment with biomass technology group BTG to produce IMO 2020 compliant bio fuel from a test refinery using pyrolysis oil as feedstock.
Pyrolysis oil is made from biomass-based residues such as sawdust and roadside grass cuttings and is a sustainable alternative for replacing fossil fuels, according to GoodFuels. Crucially, the new fuels will not make any concessions in terms of the sustainability of feedstocks.
It will be the first refinery in the world for an advanced marine biofuel based on pyrolysis oil. The new facility will be operated by a new company named BTG-neXt.
In the first phase, BTG-neXt will focus on building a pilot refinery for converting pyrolysis oil into 100% sustainable marine biodiesel for ships, in order to demonstrate that continuous production is feasible.
The new demonstration facility has a planned production capacity of a modest 1,000 tons of advanced marine fuel per year, with plans, if deemed successful, to scale up, in order to support the industry in meeting International Maritime Organisation (IMO) targets of a 50% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2050, equivalent to an 85% reduction per vessel.
“This initial capacity is sufficient to demonstrate that the technology works and will serve as a basis for further scaling up our operations,” commented Rene Venendaal, CEO of BTG.
According to Venendaal, the pilot will require a six-figure investment: “We are now working on a more precise estimate of that figure”. The goal is to use the pre-commercial facility as a reference for rolling out commercial refineries with a capacity of possibly hundreds of thousands of tons per year of an advanced sustainable marine biofuel for ships.
The intended location for the new pilot plant is “as close to home as possible”, explains Venendaal. “As was the case with BTG-BTL and Empyro, we need to have short lines of communication and be able to provide the services needed as efficiently as possible.”
GoodFuels intends to market the pilot volumes produced to further strengthen the commercial business case.
CEO of GoodFuels, Dirk Kronemijer, added: “Over the last five years, GoodFuels has laid out a clear pathway for the use of biofuels in the shipping sector. Together with partners such as Boskalis Loodswezen, Port of Rotterdam, Norden, Jan de Nul and its portfolio of GoodShipping A-Brand clients we have shown that these fuels will play an essential role in making shipping more sustainable.”
“Crucially, the next step is to scale up the processes without making any concessions in terms of the sustainability of the feedstocks used. BTG’s initiative meets all the success criteria, and we are very proud to work together with BTG to introduce this highly significant innovative technology in the Netherlands.”
The ports of Rotterdam and Eemshaven are the locations being considered for the first commercial processing plant.
“Rotterdam would be our preferred location as most of our shipping clients are active here. In addition, Rotterdam offers a great many opportunities for further integration due to the significant existing infrastructure already in place there,” said Kronemijer.
Photo credit: GoodFuels
Published: 15 November, 2019
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