Dear reader, we are happy to present to you  our latest newsletter. We have had some exciting new developments and we decided it is time to start sharing these with you again. We have a scoop for you as subscriber to our newsletter: For the first time we share performance figures from Empyro. In our interview we hear from the two technical people most responsible for these excellent performance figures.

We hope you will enjoy reading this issue of our newsletter!

Ardy Toussaint and Martin Risseeuw

Ardy and Martin: "We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with such a small team." 

Martin Risseeuw is the Plant Manager of Empyro and Ardy Toussaint is Technical Manager of BTG-BTL. Martin is responsible for the management of Empyro. Ardy is responsible for the design of the installation, the technical development and the optimization of the installation from BTG-BTL. Together they have overcome many challenges over the past three years. Together with Martin and Ardy, we look back at the period in which Empyro was built.

Martin: "The goal we had set was to run Empyro at full capacity within three years. We are very close to achieving this goal. When we look where we stand now, we are very satisfied. "

Ardy: "We have had a number of major challenges, including major wear in the sand pneumatic transport system. We first tried to solve this wear by optimizing the geometry by CFD studies and help from external expertise. This reduced the wear rate by half which was not yet good enough. In the end we managed to change the design in such a way that the area where the wear was taking place was no longer necessary. Wear in the sand system is now negligible.

Martin and Ardy form a well-organized team. Martin: "Ardy is the one who analyzes a problem, comes up with solutions and puts it in motion. I provide feedback in this process, organize and plan the modifications and ensure that the plant documentation is up to date."

A crucial milestone was the financial close in December 2013. Ardy: "An absolute highlight was the moment we could actually give Zeton the order for the construction on Christmas Eve. Also, the transport of the modules from Zeton in Enschede to the site in Hengelo in the evening was impressive."

"Would it work? It worked!"

Martin: "Restarting the installation after the modification of the sand transportation system was a very exciting moment. Would it work? It worked!"

Currently we have had a one month maintenance stop to make further improvements to the installation. An important modification was made to the combustor in order to optimize the temperature control and heat balance in the system.

Both Ardy and Martin are very positive about the future. Ardy: "We have a state-of-the-art pyrolysis technology. Progress in the field of pyrolysis oil applications is now important to further develop the market. The government can play an important role to facilitate this development. We should strive for fossil fuel independency. "

Martin: "I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved with such a small team. I would like to take this opportunity to give the team all the credits for their endless effort, intrinsic motivation and flexibility. Super!"



In the Bio4Products project a new video was released. This project will demonstrate how Bio-resources such as straw, bark, forest residues and sunflower husks can be used to create renewable alternatives to fossil-based processing streams such as bitumen, phenols and creosote.

Empyro performance update

Being frequently asked on its performance, Empyro has passed a milestone of 15 million liters of pyrolysis oil total production in June 2017. Designed to produce up to 3.2 tons of oil per hour, as of today it is typically in between 2.7 and 3.3 tons per hour. The uptime (i.e. the hours that the plant is producing oil) was rather low during the start-up phase due to a reasonable amount of teething troubles what was expected for such a first-of-its-kind plant, the design uptime of 1900 hours/quarter will be reached within the planned three years. This is shown below in a plot of uptime versus Empyro’s lifetime since starting-up in March of 2015.

The improvement in uptime is due to a debottlenecking and continuous gradual as well as rigorous improvement of Empyro. From another important upgrade having been implemented during the annual maintenance stop in October 2017 new performance targets are to be expected. 

Production of FPBO in tons



FPBO webshop for research institutes and companies

We started our webshop in 2016 to allow researchers across the world to develop new applications. Since then it provided pyrolysis oil to researchers in 23 countries from China to Norway to Brasil. The amount of oil shipped abroad now totals 150.000 kg. Their research resulted in various applications ranging from the production of fungible biofuels for automotive and aviation to the extraction of valuable chemicals. The scale at which this was achieved ranges from several milliliters all the way up to tens of tons!

The map below shows the countries our webshop delivered oil to, the top three of which in terms of liters ordered are Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom. So if you are a researcher looking to contribute to the biobased economy then please come to our website and place your order for FPBO.

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Financial support


To demonstrate biomass pyrolysis technology on commercial scale the Empyro project is financially supported by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (Grant Agreement 239357), by the Dutch government through the cross-sectoral programme Biobased Economy of the topsectors Energy and Chemistry, and by the Province of Overijssel via the Overijssel Energy Fund.