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LTU Green Fuels Chairman Tore Persson, Manager Birgitta Marke and Professor Richard Gebart avsvarig for research at LTU Green Fuels View original picture , opens in new tab/window

LTU Green Fuels in right time

Published: 15 May 2013

The time is right for large-scale production of green fuels and Luleå University of Technology's research paves the way for a fossil-free transport system. Long-term tests and a preliminary study carried out during the spring within the university research company, LTU Green Fuels, shows very positive results.

- By the study and tests, we can show that it is possible to double the amount of green fuels that can be produced by Swedish pulp mills, says Richard Gebart, head of research at LTU Green Fuels and professor at Luleå University of Technology.

The University's research into green fuels is supported by a recent report from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It shows, among other things, that there is sufficient biomass in the Swedish forest that, combined with electricity, can replace today's gasoline and diesel. It also shows that gasification as a production-method, and the fuels Methanol and green diesel Bio-DME (dimethyl ether) are the most effective. Today eight Volvo trucks in Sweden is running on DME and since November 2011 two cars in Piteå is running with the green diesel. 

Robin Holm, a truck driver in Piteå that run on green diesel
Robin Holm, running a timber truck with green diesel DME, in favor of the forestindustry Sveaskog, likes the environmentally friendly diesel.

Robin Holm truck driver in Piteå run a DME-powered truck  for the timbercompany Sveaskog.

- I think that it is nice to drive and be around, it smells like nothing and it runs quieter, he says.

Especially in winter the car runs good on DME and best when it's really cold Robin Holm belives. The car's range, by about 600 liters of DME in the tank and fully loaded with timber, is around 450 kilometres he estimates.

- We've run into Obbola outside Umeå with cargo both ways and that works well, but hardly anything more, it goes much further if you drive empty one way, he says.

The most important pieces of the puzzle identified in the new report from Royal Swedish Academy of Science, including the most effective fuels, are accommodated within the university research into green fuels. Most things are in place for research in LTU Green Fuels but one important piece of the puzzle is missing and that is a broad political support.

Professor Richard Gebart LTU
Richard Gebart, professor at Luleå University of Technology and manager for research within LTU Green Fuels

- Policy instruments are required to phase out cheap but hazardous fuels, and it also requires fixed rules for at least 12-15 years so that commercial stakeholders can make credible investment calculations in large scale, says Richard Gebart.

LTU Green Fuels, Luleå University of Technology's new research company for green fuels, has a key role here by providing a unique pilot plant where scientists and companies can verify theories and results from small-scale experiments. LTU's goal is to establish a real scientific understanding of the sub-processes that can reduce the technical and financial risks when the processes are scaled up in commercial plants. During the spring there are also practical experiments with new fuels conducted, such as with pyrolysis oil and liquified organic waste, which is gasified with a new technology for the production of green fuels called "catalytic gasification."