Pushing forward research to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from residual biomasses is the main objective of the collaboration agreement signed at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) between bp Energía España, the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ) – mixed center UPV/CSIC- and the National Renewable Energy of Spain (CENER).
The project, with a duration of three years and fully funded by bp, will use hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) with the main aim of producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This process, at moderate temperatures and medium pressures, is capable of converting organic compounds or wet biomass into a mixture of compounds that form the so called biocrude.
Specifically, the research teams will assess the feasibility of hydrothermal liquefaction of sewage sludge, rice straw and forest residues (beech) aimed at producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). For this reason, the project will mean an increase in the use of biomass from local origin lignocellulosic sources (not oleic). Thus, by using local feedstocks, the development of non-industrialized regions is favoured and it contributes to the energy independence of Spain.
The scaling up of the hydrothermal liquefaction process will be carried out in the pilot plant of CENER Biorefinery and Bioenergy Center (BIO2C). In this semi-industrial pilot scale testing facility, production processes for bioproducts, solid biofuels, liquid or advanced gaseous biofuels are developed from residual biomasses and biowastes, as well as biorefinery concepts that integrate different valorisation routes, as an intermediate step between the laboratory and the industrial scale up of these technologies.
This collaboration agreement opens a very interesting scenario for air transport decarbonisation. Indeed, CENER’s Biomass Department contributes with our knowledge of hydrothermal liquefaction process, and ITQ adds its experience as one of the world leaders in the development of catalytic processes.