Aston University’s (UK) Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) is involved in a £1.4-million (US$2.2 million), two-year project aimed at developing technology for producing and fractionating bio-oil components as a basis for a biorefinery producing green chemicals, transportation fuels and energy.

The Bio-oil Refinery Project is part funded by the Research Council of Norway (RENERGI) program, and will develop new, integrated bio-oil technology to transform biomass more efficiently into biofuels through fast pyrolysis.

Coordinated by the Paper and Fibre Institute (PFI) in Norway, The Bio-oil Refinery Project involves Aston University and several partners from Norway and Sweden.

Biomass liquefaction is done by fast pyrolysis, a pretreatment technology that is very flexible with respect to feedstock. Fast pyrolysis also brings efficient energy densification, which makes the technology suitable for decentralized bio-oil production of wood waste materials with favorable transport costs.

his project will serve to form an international network between industry, academia and research institutes. We need to develop more efficient technologies to not only make bio-oil viable on a large scale at lower costs, but also to derive transportation fuels with similar objectives.

—Tony Bridgwater, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Head of BERG at Aston University

BERG has coordinated 11 substantial EC sponsored RTD projects and is managing SUPERGEN, a UK University Consortium in thermal biomass conversion, PyNe, a biomass pyrolysis network, and ThermalNet, a new European network for biomass pyrolysis, gasification and combustion.