Integrated biorefinery and CCU technologies for aquatic and terrestrial biomass
Country of origin: Colombia
University: Aalborg University, Denmark
Main supervisor: Prof. Thomas Helmer Pedersen
Industry partners: Ocean Rainforests, GoodFuels
The production of drop-in liquid biofuels is key for reducing emissions in the transportation sector particularly in segments that cannot be easily covered by direct electricity consumption such as heavy road, maritime and aviation. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is one of the most promising routes due to its flexibility and capability to handle a wide range of organic materials. HTL is currently at pilot/demonstration scale and on the way to commercialization, being process integration a crucial step in order to reduce operating costs associated with raw materials and utilities.
In the energy transition scenario, the increasing share of fluctuating renewable energy and the possibility of highly available electricity offers an unexplored potential for process integration. Therefore, the aim is to evaluate novel HTL concepts and to interplay with electricity fluctuations from the grid for the production of biofuels in combination with CCS/CCU technologies. In the North Sea region context, forestry residues and seaweed will be evaluated as feedstocks due to their production potential and availability. Aside from experimental determination of HTL performance, process modeling will be employed to perform techno-economic analyses and to explore the interconnection with the electricity grid in the context of integrated energy systems.
Project objective: expected results and contribution to society
The intention of this PhD study is to elucidate the potential of HTL for the production of drop-in biofuels in the context of integrated energy systems, having as expected outcome the design of a biorefinery that integrates CCS/CCU technologies and provides balancing capacity to the electricity grid by absorbing its fluctuations. The development of this project is expected to contribute to the state of art in the fields of HTL, electrofuels and integrated energy systems, given the paucity of studies that address this interaction in detail.
In the energy transition scenario, the proposed in this project is in line with the global trend towards electrified systems with higher efficiency and less carbon emissions, aiming for the production of biofuels with higher climate change mitigation value.