LTU Green Fuels
View original picture , opens in new tab/window

New life for LTU Green Fuels' pilot plant

Published: 28 November 2016

LTU Green Fuels, one of the world's most advanced pilot plants for gasification of wood residues and by-products of pulp and paper industry to synthesis gas and green fuels, has been threatened with closure. The division of Energy Science at Luleå University of Technology has decided to contribute with 1.5 million and Piteå Municipality with half a million crowns, to save the plant. This completes the funding of a project that is also sponsored by the Swedish Energy Agency and other actors.

LTU Green Fuels, one of the world's most advanced pilot plants for gasification of wood residues and by-products of pulp and paper industry to synthesis gas and green fuels, has been threatened with closure after the successful completion of an ambitious research programme aimed at demonstrating and optimizing production of BioDME and biomethanol from forest residues and black liquor from chemical pulping. The division of Energy Science at Luleå University of Technology has decided to contribute with 1.5 million and Piteå Municipality with half a million crowns, to save the plant. This completes the funding of a project that is also sponsored by the Swedish Energy Agency and other actors.

– We could not stand passive and let such a successful and for the future so important facility simply be demolished. No similar plant in the world have run as much and as successfully as we have done. The main reason, why we want to preserve the facility is that it can easily be adapted to other feedstocks and other end products that will be important in Sweden and in other countries for a smooth transition to a fossil free society, says Rikard Gebart, professor and head of research at LTU Green Fuels.

The Municipal in Piteå took the decision Monday, November 28 to contribute with half a millioncrowns to the cold determination of the pilot plant, which together with the money from the Energy Science at Luleå University of Technology now prevents demolition of Green Fuels.Other financiers are the Swedish Energy Agency, Aga, Smurfit Kappa, SP ETC and Domsjö

– We strongly believe in this system, it has shown great results so far. This is a really good pilot plant that can contribute even more when it comes to producing green fuels. We're pretty confident that it will resume research on this system within a year or so and now we contribute to ensure that the plant is kept in shape until then, says Peter Roslund, Mayor of Piteå.

It is the struggle against the dramatic buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, that is the main driver for the preservation of Green Fuels pilot plant in Piteå. The focus of the research, when Luleå University of Technology took over responsibility of operation from Chemrec in 2013, has been processes that can help replace fossil oil with renewable fuels to help Sweden to achieve a fossil-independent transport system in 15 years.

– In order to achieve a fossil-independent transport system in 2030 in Sweden, we need about 20 plants using the same technology as in our pilot plant for production of renewable fuels. It is therefore essential to maintain the plant operational so that it can be used to support the development and for problem solving connected to full scale plants, says Rikard Gebart.

When the plant closed in May this year after a very successful four-year research programme, supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and a number of forward-looking companies, LTU Green Fuels was forced to lay off all process operators and some of the process engineers. Without maintenance the plant would have quickly deteriorated so it would be impossible to restart it without significant reinvestments. A significant effort has therefore been spent on securing funding to keep the plant in good condition so it can be restarted quickly when the need arises. The Swedish Energy Agency gave their green light already in June under the condition that LTU could secure matching funding from other sources. The final piece in the puzzle has now been found when the Department of Energy Science at Luleå University of Technology and Piteå Municipality together contribute with the last 2 million, that was needed. Other financiers are the Aga, Smurfit Kappa, SP ETC and Domsjö

The plant has already been disconnected from the nearby Smurfit Kappa pulp mill and all systems have been emptied from hazardous substances and cleaned. In the coming years, until the plant is needed in new projects, periodic maintenance and "exercising" of moving parts, as well as statutory inspections will be carried out. Luleå University of Technology is also discussing with a number of companies and academic researchers with an interest in joint projects where the plant is needed and will seek funding from various funding agencies (such as the EU Horizon 2020).

– The hope is to be able to resume research in the plant around new process variants that will be needed in the future fossil free energy system, says Fredrik Granberg, project manager and site manager at LTU Green Fuels pilot plant.

 

 

 

– We could not see such a successful and for the future so important facility simply been demolished. No similar plant in the world have run as much and as successfully as we have done. The main reason, why we want to preserve the facility is that we believe that it will be important to Sweden and other countries to have a chance to achieve the transition to a fossil free society, fast enough, says Rikard Gebart, professor and head of research at LTU Green Fuels.

The Municipal in Piteå took the decision Monday, November 28 to contribute with half a millioncrowns to the cold determination of the pilot plant, which together with the money from the Energy Science at Luleå University of Technology now prevents demolition of Green Fuels.Other financiers are the Swedish Energy Agency, Aga, Smurfit Kappa, SP ETC and Domsjö

– We strongly believe in this system, it has shown great results so far. This is a really good pilot plant that can contribute even more when it comes to producing green fuels. We're pretty confident that it will resume research on this system within a year or so and now we contribute to ensure that the plant is kept in shape until then, says Peter Roslund, Mayor of Piteå.

It is the struggle against the galloping buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, that is the basis for action to fight for the preservation of Green Fuels pilot plant in Piteå. The focus of the research, when Luleå University of Technology took over responsibility of operation from Chemrec in 2013, has been to replace fossil oil with green fuels to help Sweden to achive a fossil-independent transport in 15 years.

– If we are to have a fossil-independent transport system in 2030 in Sweden, we need about 20 plants using the same technology as in our pilot plant for production of renewable fuels, in sufficient quantity. It is therefore essential to maintain the plant intact so that knowledge can be utilized when plants are being built, says Rikard Gebart.

When the plant closed last spring after a very successful research projects since 2013, supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and a number of forward-looking companies, LTU Green Fuels was forced to lay off all employees. Since then the fight has conerned to spare the plant from demolition by seeking new financing. Now the Department of Energy Science at Luleå University of Technology and Piteå Municipality together contribute with the last 2 million, that was needed. Other financiers are the Swedish Energy Agency, Aga, Smurfit Kappa, SP ETC and Domsjö

The factory has been set aside, until further notice. For the plant not to lapse, periodic maintenance has been carried out and "exercise" of moving parts, as well as ongoing statutory inspections. Luleå University of Technology is discussing with a number of companies and academic researchers who are interested in implementing joint projects with the university at the plant and will seek funding from various funding agencies (such as the EU Horizon 2020).

– The hope is to be able to resume research in the plant, says Fredrik Granberg, project manager and site manager at LTU Green Fuels pilot plant.

Rikard Gebart

Rikard Gebart, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492196
Organisation: Energy Engineering, Energy Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics

Tags