Bio-oil project heats up with more efficient fuel oil research10 August 2010
Aston University's Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) is currently involved in a £1.4m project to develop technologies to transform bio-oil into a more efficient source of renewable energy, potentially to replace diesel.
According to Tony Bridgwater, professor of chemical engineering and head of BERG at Aston, the project, which is part funded by the Research Council of Norway, will be developing integrated bio-oil technology to transform biomass more efficiently through fast pyrolysis.
This will, he says, include turning biomass, such as tree bark and waste wood into oil for heat power and transport needs.
Bridgwater explains that pyrolysis oil has several advantages over fossil fuels insofar as it is renewable, non-toxic and, in case of spillage, does not spread on water, like petroleum. Bio-oil is also more suitable for transportation than other renewable fuel sources, he says – including raw biomass or wood pellets – due to its high energy density.
"We need to develop more efficient technologies not only to make bio-oil viable on a large scale at lower costs, but also to derive transportation fuels with similar objectives. Aston University's experience in fast pyrolysis and biofuel production technologies for biomass and fuel and chemical products will play a crucial part in the project."
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