Techno-economic assessment of selected biomass liquefaction processes

David Beckman, Douglas Elliott, Börje Gevert, Christina Hörnell, Björn Kjellström, Anders Östman, Yrjö Solantausta, Virve Tulenheimo

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    A techno-economic assessment was carded out as part of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Biomass Agreement. The overall objective of the work was to identify the optimum process concept to be considered for testing in a possible international test facility. The participating countries were Canada, Finland, Sweden, and United States. The comparison of the processes was primarily based on estimated production costs of synthetic gasoline. Processes were also assessed based on their technical merits, and the availability of experimental data was one of the prime criterion for the selection of analysed process concepts. In an earlier study by IEA it was shown, that atmospheric flash pyrolysis and high pressure liquefaction are the preferred direct liquefaction concepts for the production of fuel oil substitutes from biomass. Direct liquefaction makes it possible to produce synthetic gasoline or diesel oil with high efficiency (around 50 % with wood feed, above 60 % with peat feed). This applies to both pyrolysis and high pressure processes. The atmospheric flash pyrolysis appears as the most economic one for wood feed. With present technology, the estimated ratio of the product cost and the product value (defined as average spot market price for 1977-1987) is about 2 for a wood price of USD 30/wet ton. High pressure liquefaction of peat is assessed to be more economic than atmospheric flash pyrolysis. However, the uncertainties with the high pressure concept are estimated to be greater than with pyrolysis. There seems to be development potential for both process concepts, allowing an estimated cost reduction of 25-40 % for the products. The most promising process for gasoline production by direct liquefaction of wood and peat is atmospheric flash pyrolysis. Both these approaches have considerable development potential, while research needs and uncertainties appear to be greater with high pressure liquefaction. Therefore, it can be recommended that further development of gasoline production to be focused on flash pyrolysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    Number of pages266
    Publication statusPublished - 1990
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesValtion teknillinen tutkimuskeskus. Tutkimuksia - Research Reports


    • biomass
    • wood
    • peat
    • liquefaction
    • pyrolysis
    • technology assessment
    • economic evaluations


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