Current processes of biomass utilisation are inferior to the known technologies of oil refining and petrochemistry in terms of profitability and efficiency, and which are characterised by large-sized equipment and high power consumption. Gasification and fast pyrolysis are the most promising technologies of biomass processing. Gasification is performed at elevated temperatures (800 to 1000 °С), yielding producer gas as the main product (yield to 80%), which is generally used to generate electricity. Fast pyrolysis is performed at lower temperature (ca 500 °C) to yield liquid biofuels (yield to 75%). Contrary to the producer gas, liquid biofuels can be transported and stored for long periods.
The calorific value of pyrolysis liquids is approx. 40% lower than that of the diesel fuel, because of high water content (to 30-40%) and oxygen involved in the organic component. Compared to the original biomass, pyrolysis liquid has a significant increase in the energy density on a volumetric basis (5 to 10 MJ/m3 for wood compared to 18-23 MJ/m3 for pyrolysis liquid).
There have been significant advances in the science, technology and application of pyrolysis liquids in recent years. In potential, pyrolysis liquids can serve a wide range of applications:
(1) As a fuel for co-generation of heat and electricity in turbines, internal combustion engines and boilers;
(2) As a transport fuel, after stabilisation and upgrading;
(3) As a source of special-purpose chemicals, after extraction.
The aim of the project is to create knowledge and technology know-how on (catalytic and non-catalytic) pyrolysis, upgrading of the bioliquids to fuels and subsequent electricity generation in engines and gas turbines.