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Gerhard Muggen

Contact office@btg-btl.com

Contact +31 (0)53 486 2287

Pyrolysis

Fast pyrolysis is the thermochemical decomposition of biomass through rapid heating in absence of oxygen. Our technology applies this process on an industrial scale to convert lignocellulosic (non-food) biomass into a dark-brown liquid best known as pyrolysis oil.

Energy and materials from biomass

It is becoming increasingly difficult to remain within safe levels of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere while still meeting the energy demands of the increasing global population. In order to meet this challenge we need a rapid global energy transition where more and more of our supply comes from a mix of renewable sources such as wind-, solar- and hydropower but also biomass, which complements this mix in three ways:

  • Heat and power: At certain times during the day wind and solar power are low or demand peaks.
  • Biofuels: Some means of transport require the high energy density which only a liquid fuel can provide. Although electric cars are becoming more and more common we should not expect to see electric passenger planes or electric container ships in the near future.
  • Biobased chemicals: Crude oil is not just used for heat, power and fuel but also for petrochemical products such as asphalt, plastics and adhesives. The consensus is that biomass is the only renewable source of carbon which can eventually replace crude oil as a feedstock for these products.

We simply cannot afford to leave the enormous potential of biomass untapped in tackling the current energy challenge. However, although biomass is abundantly available in many countries it usually suffers from several disadvantages that have limited its application so far: 

  • Contaminants in the biomass include large amounts of oxygen, water and ash (mostly sand and minerals).
  • Availability of biomass is highest in sparsely populated areas, while energy consumption is highest in highly populated areas.
  • Structure: Biomass is a solid with widely varying characteristics which makes it more difficult to handle in industrial processes then oil and gas. 
  • Energy density of wood chips is 3-4 GJ/m3 compared to 35-40 GJ/m3 for crude oil. 

Why pyrolysis?

The disadvantages of biomass (CASE) can be overcome by local small scale conversion of biomass into a liquid energy carrier. Pyrolysis technology offers the following unique selling points:

  • Pyrolysis oil is produced from non-food biomass and is therefore a second generation biofuel which does not compete with the food chain. 
  • The local decentralized production of pyrolysis oil seperates out the minerals in the biomass so they can be recycled to maintain the soil quality. 
  • Due to its energy density and liquid form existing infrastructure can be used for transporting pyrolysis oil. 
  • GHG  savings (GreenHouse Gas) of our raw pyrolysis oil are well above that of other biofuels. (85-95% for heat and power applications)
  • Pyrolysis oil can be stored for long periods of time, and is therefore available when necessary. 
  • It can substitute fossil fuels in heat and power applications and thereby provide peak renewable power to complement other (intermittent) renewable power sources such as wind and solar.