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Global Bioenergies starts demonstration project to convert wood residues into second-generation renewable isobutene

Global Bioenergies announced the start of a three-year project to demonstrate a new value chain combining its isobutene process with technologies developed by Sekab and Neste Engineering Solutions, two of Europe’s leading technology developers.

The aim is to convert currently poorly valorized softwood residues into second-generation renewable isobutene for subsequent conversion into gasoline and jet fuel.

The 11 project partners coming from eight EU-member States have signed an agreement with the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) which manages the Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy societal challenge of the Horizon 2020 program. INEA’s mission is to support the Commission, project promoters and stakeholders by providing expertise and high quality of program management.

A EUR 13.9 million (USD 16.52 million) grant agreement was signed with INEA on behalf of the European Commission.

Biomass is frequently considered as an alternative feedstock to fossil oil in order to address the issues of climate change and resources depletion, and also to strengthen energy independence of European nations.

However, such substitution is far from trivial and innovative processes are needed to efficiently convert residual biomass into drop-in fuels and chemicals. The present project, gathering renowned industrialists from various fields, sets the foundations of a first-of-a-kind biorefinery converting residual wood to high performances drop-in renewable gasoline and jet fuel.

With an estimated forestry residues potential of about 145 million tons per year, the European Union has the potential to support the deployment of hundreds of such biorefineries.

“We are thrilled by the opportunity to be part of industrial consortia which focus on softwood residue streams valorization in novel value chains and end-use markets. We believe it to be important to kick-start the biomaterials market with high sustainability standards, as it will add strong value to the softwood residues on long-term basis,” said Peep Pitk, head of R&D at Graanul Invest.

The project was selected under the name REWOFUEL (NĀ°792104), in the frame of the European HORIZON 2020 program for research and innovation, following a very selective and competitive process led by independent experts.

The objective is to demonstrate the new value chain at cubic meter scale by combining the technologies and know-how of participants.