Global Bioenergies to convert currently poorly valorised softwood residues into second generation renewable isobutene

Marc Delcourt, co-founder and CEO of Global Bioenergies

Global Bioenergies started a 3-year project to demonstrate a new value chain combining its isobutene process with technologies developed by Sekab and Neste Engineering Solutions, two of Europe’s leading technology developers. The aim is to convert currently poorly valorised softwood residues into second generation renewable isobutene for subsequent conversion into gasoline and jetfuel. A €13.9m grant agreement was signed with INEA on behalf of the European commission.

Biomass is frequently considered as an alternative feedstock to fossil oil in order to address the issues of climate change and resources depletion, and also to strengthen energy independence of European nations. However, such substitution is far from trivial and innovative processes are needed to efficiently convert residual biomass into drop-in fuels and chemicals.

The present project, gathering renowned industrialists from various fields, sets the foundations of a first-of-a-kind biorefinery converting residual wood to high performances drop-in renewable gasoline and jetfuel. With an estimated forestry residues potential of about 145 million tons per year, the European Union has the potential to support the deployment of hundreds of such biorefineries.

“We are thrilled – Peep Pitk, Head of R&D at Graanul Invest declared – by the opportunity to be part of industrial consortia which focus on softwood residue streams valorisation in novel value chains and end-use markets. We believe it to be important to kick-start the biomaterials market with high sustainability standards, as it will add strong value to the softwood residues on long term basis.”

The 11 project partners coming from 8 EU-member States have signed an agreement with the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) which manages the Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy societal challenge of the Horizon 2020 program. INEA’s mission is to support the Commission, project promoters and stakeholders by providing expertise and high quality of program management.

The program covers a total budget of €19.7 million. Non-refundable grants totalling €13.9 million will be provided by the European Union, with the remainder being contributed by the participants. Global Bioenergies will be the coordinator of the project, and receive funding amounting to €5.7 million. Additionally REWOFUEL will be supported by numerous industrialists including Air France and Safran.

“While we make progress on our first commercial project based on sugar beet-derived sugars – Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies concluded – this new grant from the H2020 program further supports our strategy to diversify the feedstocks usable in our Isobutene process, and thus opens the door to the deployment of our technology in many new geographies.”


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