To address the technical-economic barriers to the further development and accelerated commercial deployment of bioenergy conversion technologies for widespread sustainable exploitation of biomass resources.
Industrial sector objective
To ensure at least 14% bioenergy in the EU energy mix by 2020, and at the same time to guarantee GHG emission savings of 60% for bio-fuels and bio-liquids under the sustainability criteria of the new RES directive.
- Bring to commercial maturity the currently most promising technologies and value-chains through the development and optimisation of feedstock-flexible thermochemical pathways and biochemical pathways, in order to promote large-scaleLarge single productionunits or large number of smaller units , sustainable production of advanced biofuels and highly efficient heat & power from biomass. This will require scaling up and optimization of process integration, with focus on the improvement of feedstock flexibility, energy and carbon efficiency, capex efficiency, reliability and maintenance of plants.
- Contribute to a set of activities in the field of biomass feedstock availability assessment, production, management and harvesting in support of the up-scaling of promising technologies. Biomass availability, production and harvesting are not specific to the bioenergy use of biomass and are to be addressed in a coherent effort shared with relevant stakeholders and initiativesLocal and nationalauthorities, farming associations, European Technology Platforms such as Plantsfor the Future and Forestry .
- Develop a longer term R&D programme to support the Bioenergy industry development beyond 2020.
- Optimisation of the most promising value chains within thermo-chemical (characterised by the use of high temperature transformations) and biochemical (characterised by the use of biological and chemical processes) pathways. As within the current R&D efforts in Europe, several technology options have shown promising performances at pilot scale, this calls for a collaborative programme of demonstration and first-of-this-kind industrial-size plants depending on the level of maturity of each specific value chain, supported by targeted RTD actions. If pilot plants aim at establishing technical performance, demonstration plants (D) are the last non-economic step to demonstrate the performance and reliability of all critical steps in a value chain. First-of-this-kind industrial-size plants (F) are then the first commercial unit operating at an economically viable scale.
Within the thermo-chemical pathways, the five generic value chains listed below will be optimised for the production of gas, liquids, heat and power from a large variety of lignocellulosic material. Activities will include the optimised use of advanced catalysts and the improvement of gas cleaning technologies and quality/stability of bioliquids.
A. Production of synthesis gas (syngas) as an intermediary to create liquid fuels (e.g. gasoline, naphtha, kerosene or diesel fuel) and chemicals (1-2D and 2-3 F plants)
B. Production of bio-methane and other bio-synthetics gaseous fuels through gasification (1-2D and 2-3 F plants)
C. Optimisation of syngas combustion to produce heat and electrical power (2-3 F plants).
D. Optimisation of the production of bioenergy carriers such as bio-oil and solid intemediates (2-3 F plants).
E. Co-processing of biomass and bio-energy carriers with petroleum oil (2-3 F plants).
Within the biochemical pathways, the following three value chains will be optimised for the production of gas and liquids from biomass, including the optimisation of feedstock pre-treatment and downstream processing and the optimised use of advanced enzymes, ensuring the optimum production of valuable co-products where possible:
A. Production of ethanol and higher alcohols from ligno-cellulosic feedstock (agricultural and forest biomass - either residues or dedicated crops- and urban municipal solid waste) with simultaneous production of valuable co-products (1-2D and 2-3F plants working with different types of biomass).
B. Synthesis of hydrocarbons (e.g. diesel and jet fuel) through biological and/or chemical process from biomass containing carbohydrates. (2-3D and 1-2F plants preceded by some RTD activities and pilots)
C. The micro-organism (algae, bacteria)-based production of bioenergy carriers (e.g. bio-oils) from CO2 and sunlight, and further upgrading into transportation fuels (e.g. biodiesel and aviation fuels) and valuable by-products (2-3D and 1-2 F).
- The pre-requisite for the implementation of the above mentioned programme of demonstration and first-of-this-kind industrial-size plants will be an assessment of the biomass availability, and the development/optimisation of technologies and logistics for sustainable feedstock production, management and harvesting. A set of activities will therefore be implemented together with concerned stakeholders to assess sustainable biomass availability in Europe, to develop improved crops (including aquatic crops) suitable for the production of biofuels or chemicals, to develop better harvesting technologies, to improve forest management techniques or the fuel extraction from waste.
- A longer-term R&D programme to support the bioenergy industry development beyond 2020. This involves the construction of a couple of pilot plants followed by a couple of demonstration plants, possibly around 2018. This action will focus on the identification and development of new value chains able to further improve the performance of the concerned processes and/or to permit the exploitation of new raw materials under sustainable conditions.
All the actions and relative indicative costs are summarised in the tables that follow.
Summary of actions
Technology pathways /
Maturity in Europe
Estimated N° of plantsP= Pilot, D= Demo,F=First-of-this-kind industrial-size plant
Potential specific value-chains
1. Optimisation of the most promising value chains
A: Liquid fuels (e.g. gasoline, naphtha, kerosene or diesel fuel) and chemicals through gasification.
Pilot & demo
Example of potential specific value chains for the thermochemical pathways are:
· Bio-dimethyether (DME) and methanol from black liquor
· Fisher-Tropsch diesel and naphtha from waste wood, forest residues, short rotation crops, straw forest residues, stumps, bark
· Bio-methane from dry lignocellulosic biomass
· Bio-oil for light/heavy oil applications from forest residue
B: Bio-methane and other bio-synthesitic gaseous fuels through gasification.
1-2D, 2-3 F
C: Heat and electrical power through gasification.
D: Intermediate bioenergy carriers through techniques such as pyrolysis and torrefaction.
Pilot & demo
E: Co-processing biomass and/or bio-energy carriers with petroleum oil.
5-8D, 4-7 F
A: Ethanol, higher alcohols and valuable co-products from ligno-cellulosic feedstock through chemical and biological processes.
Pilot & demo
1-2D, 2-3 F
Example of potential specific value chain for the biochemical pathways are:
· Ethanol from dedicated feedstocks, agricultural bio-products, wood wastes
· Ethanol, animal feed and fertiliser from food industry waste and side streams
· Ethanol, C5 molasses, lignin pellets from wheat straw
· Biodiesel from algae
B: Hydrocarbons (e.g. diesel and jet fuel) through biological and/or chemical Synthesis from biomass containing carbohydrates.
2-3D, 1-2 F
C: Transportation fuels (e.g. biodiesel and aviation fuels) and valuable by-products from bioenergy carriers produced by micro-organisms (algae, bacteria).
2-3D, 1-2 F
2-3.Supporting and complementary activities
Types of activities
2: Contribution to activities on biomass feedstock assessment, production, management and harvesting for energy purposes
2-3 P, 1D
Studies on biomass availability assessment, R&D on improved and new crops (including aquatic crops) and pilots/demonstration on optimised technologies and logistics for sustainable feedstock production, management and harvesting.
3: Identification of new value chains via longer term RTD programmes
1-2P, 1-2 D
Various R&D, pilot and demonstration activities
Indicative costs (2010-2020)
1. Optimisation of the most promising value chains via:
a. Thermochemical pathways from lingo-cellulosic feedstock
b. Biochemical pathways
2. Support activities on biomass feedstock assessment, production, management and harvesting for energy purposes
3. Identification of new value chains via longer term RTD programmes
This reflects the total sum of the required public and private investments.
Indicative Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
For electricity generation
- Investment cost < 1500 €/kWe by 2015-2020
- Electricity production cost < 0.05 €/kWh by 2015-2020
For Biofuels production
- Biofuel production cost < 0.6 € /litre gasoline equivalentIEA, 2008, from 1st to2nd generation Biofuel technologies, assuming 1€ = 1USD (2008 equivalent)
- Capital investment and operation costs in line with fossil industry refinery costs