Invensys joins biofuels consortium
Optfuel is a European consortium researching the feasibility of using second-generation biofuels to power automobiles.
London, U.K. – Invensys Process Systems (IPS) has joined Optfuel, a European consortium researching the feasibility of using second-generation biofuels to power automobiles. Under the leadership of Volkswagen AG , the project will demonstrate "optimized fuels for sustainable transport" and pave the way for the large-scale production of second-generation transport biofuels based on wood and forestry residues.
As part of the consortium, IPS will provide process simulation, design and optimization technologies. The Optfuel project kicked off in February with a planning meeting of all the consortium partners, including Ford, Renault and Volkswagen from the automotive sector; Choren Industries , a Freiberg, Germany-based engineering company; Conservation of Clean Air and Water in Europe (CONCAWE) , representing the European mineral oil industry; and representatives of research institutes from France ( IFP ), Greece ( CERTH ), India ( IITD ) and the German project consultant SYNCOM.
The Optfuel project will establish the technical basis for the large-scale production—up to 200,000 tons per year—of biomass-to-liquid (BtL) products from wood chips that can be used in vehicles, either as neat fuels or by blending with conventional fossil fuels. The production process involves the gasification of wood residues at 1400 °C, followed by the recombination of the gasified residues into sulphur- and aromatics-free liquids. Advanced biofuels for evaluation in this project will be produced at Choren Industries' Freiberg beta plant. The BtL demonstration will begin with the cultivation of 200 hectares of fast-growing willow, poplar, and robinia trees on land near the Freiberg facility.
Automotive manufacturers and the oil industry will then work together to blend the BtL liquids, evaluate their exhaust emissions and explore their potential in current and future engine technologies. Earlier projects have shown that vehicles operating on neat BtL can achieve considerable reductions in exhaust emissions. In addition, the consortium will evaluate the economic aspects and potential of reducing energy and greenhouse emissions from all parts of the BtL production process.
– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering News Desk
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