The world needs alternative sustainable fuels as a matter of urgency, especially in the marine transport sector. This is due to strict new regulations demanding reduced sulphur and carbon content in diesels and oils.
Aston University scientists contributed to the ReShip project, where low-quality wood waste, chippings, and unmerchantable wood left in forests after logging has occurred are used to produce new biofuels.
Fast pyrolysis, where material is heated in the absence of oxygen, allows us to convert the wood into crude pyrolysis oil. Compared to petroleum-based oil, however, crude pyrolysis oil cannot be used directly in diesel engines as it is too unstable.
To counter this, the Aston team, led by Professor Tony Bridgwater sought to stabilise freshly produced pyrolysis biofuel using mild, rapid, low-temperature catalytic hydrogen treatment. This research, conducted in cooperation with the Paper and Fibre Research Institute in Norway, attempted to blend bio-oil with conventional diesel and surfactant to form a multi-component fuel.
The most promising fuels were then tested in engines to assess their quality and their potential for use in marine transport.
The Benefits of ReShip Research
The success of this project is vital, with far-reaching benefits to the world of bio-energy and local communities. Speeding up the process of making cost-effective and sustainable fuels could dramatically impact the environmental footprint of marine travel.
Making fuel sources used in marine transport sustainable is essential for reducing emissions. The ReShip project is designed to help realise a sustainable, low-carbon future.
- Producing Sustainable Power
All of the biomass sourced (wood) comes from Norwegian forests, which represents a significant resource for bioenergy production. Biomass in Norway is also growing faster than it is being consumed. Projects like ReShip will pave the way for large-scale biofuel production in a way that is sustainable and reduces its impact on land usage. Aston University brings extensive experience to the technologies that power biomass and biofuel production, like fast pyrolysis, and we hope to use our research experience to help realise a more sustainable future.
- International Engagement
In Scandinavia, fast pyrolysis oil production is rapidly becoming commercialised. Energy company Fortum is to invest €20m in an integrate bio-oil plant, while Swedish packing firm, Billerud, received €32m from the European Commission to build a new biofuel plant based on forest residues.
The ReShip project is being led by the Paper and Fibre Research Institute in Norway, who are partnered with Aston University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The £321,000 project was funded by Norwegian industry partners and the Research Council of Norway and ran until 2017.
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We welcome collaboration opportunities with academia, government bodies and industry from around the world.