Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is taking action to reduce aviation emissions in Europe. Significant challenges remain for the aviation industry in maintaining growth while enhancing environmental sustainability. In addition, unlike other liquid fuels (such as diesel or gasoline) with developed alternatives (such as a battery or electrical power), the most promising alternative to currently used aviation jet fuels is bio-derived aviation fuel, which is still at the earliest stages of development. The B2A project aims to develop new processes based on catalytic fast hydropyrolysis technology for the synthesis of the next generation of sustainable fuels for aviation from lignocellulosic biomass to increase the competitiveness compared to fossil fuel alternatives. The cost of biomass, catalysts, carbon yield and catalyst stability have been identified as the most sensitive parameters for the biofuel cost. To address these challenges, the project has developed efficient catalysts for C-C coupling and hydrodeoxygenation and scaled up them to hundred grams of pellets production for applications in a mini-pilot plant. The fast hydropyrolysis of biomass has successfully been performed in a mini-pilot plant consisting of a fluidized bed reactor for pyrolysis and a fixed bed reactor for vapor upgrading at atmospheric pressure. The continuous production of the stabilized bio-oil with oxygen content less than 20 wt% with a carbon yield larger than 50% has been achieved. The stabilized bio-oil will be further treated in a high-pressure HDO reaction to produce the blend compounds for aviation fuels. Based on the results, the process has been designed, and a techno-economical evaluation has been performed. It was found that the process can achieve self-balance of hydrogen and high carbon yield with the help of a C-C coupling reaction to convert the small oxygenates to long-chain oxygenates and hydrocarbons. The process and catalysts need to be further optimized to lower the cost of the fuels.
Biofuels are the only real option to achieve significant reductions in aviation emissions. However, the main challenges remaining for large scale application of biofuels in the aviation sector are the cost- and feedstock supply. The B2A project aims to develop new processes based on catalytic fast hydropyrolysis technology for synthesis of the next generation of sustainable fuels for aviation from lignocellulosic biomass to increase the competitiveness compared to fossil fuel alternatives. The cost of biomass, catalysts, carbon yield and catalyst stability have been identified as the most sensitive parameters for the biofuel cost. To address these challenges, the project proposes three main technical solutions to break the boundaries of the high cost of biofuel, namely identifying low-cost lignocellulosic biomass and biomass wastes, development of low-cost stable catalysts, and achieving high carbon yield of jet fuel through selectively converting the pyrolysis intermediates by C-C coupling reaction to increase the carbon number range in the targeted fuels. The project will vertically integrate the project structure, to address the critical challenges in catalytic technologies by hypothesis-driven catalyst design and development, process integration and optimization, techno-economic-sosial assessment, as well as demonstrate the process in a pilot plant to achieve a the biofuel price less than 0.78 euro per liter aviation fuel. These results from the experimental proof-of-concept could provide a process which could be deployed in small as well as large scale applications for sustainable production of drop-in aviation bio fuel from biomass. With the guidance of three industrial partners in the project, a business case will be proposed at the industrial relevant environment.