The University of Twente (UT) is participating in the recently granted Horizon 2020 EBIO project. This project focuses on upgrading liquified biomass to high-value fuels for road transport. The project will run for four years and has a budget of more than €4 million. The innovative ambitions of this European project are to help achieve the objectives laid down by the United Nations in the field of sustainability and a circular economy. Prof. Guido Mul: “Biofuels are sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, use of which significantly reduces the CO2 footprint of travel. The participation of the UT in this project means that we contribute to develop technologies to supply clean and affordable biofuels, and that our collaboration with the Biomass Technology Group BV – BTG, based in Enschede, is strengthened. ” Dr Bastian Mei coordinates the work at the UT

About Ebio

EBIO - The project for the conversion of low-value crude bio liquids into sustainable fuels for road transport was launched in December 2020 and will run for four years. The EBIO consortium, which is being coordinated by Sintef AS (Norway), comprises nine parties from seven countries: B.T.G. Biomass Technology Group BV – BTG (the Netherlands), Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz – JGU (Germany), the University of Twente - UT (the Netherlands), Condias GMBH (Germany), Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri Anonim Sirketi – TUPRAS (Turkey), Poyry Sweden AB – AFRY (Sweden), ETA – Florence Renewable Energies (Italy), and the Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior Deinvestigaciones Cientificas – CSIC (Spain).

Transition to a low-carbon economy

The technological basis of the project is key to our transition to a competitive low-carbon economy with compact and cost-efficient solutions for renewable energy production. The proposed concepts will help accelerate and reduce the costs of the production of sustainable and renewable energy.

The role of the UT

As one of the two universities involved in EBIO, the UT is mainly responsible for the development of materials for the electrochemical conversion of acidic components in pyrolysis liquid and optimization of the related process parameters. This gives Prof. Guido Mul’s PhotoCatalytic Synthesis (PCS) group, which works closely with the participating institutes and companies, a direct contribution to the construction of small pilot plants. Dr Bastian Mei coordinates the work at the UT.

Only two raw materials

The research focuses on the electrochemical conversion of two typical, readily available industrial bio liquids: pyrolysis liquid and lignin-containing black liquor. Through a multi-step process, these low-value chemicals are converted into green fuels and biochemicals. Using only these two raw materials, successful implementation of EBIO technology can lead to a minimum annual production of 60 million tons of biofuels in the European countries hosting the project.

EBIO’s unique feature

EBIO is unique in that it uses sustainable electricity and water, rather than fossil-based hydrogen in the first processing phase; this results in an improved environmental footprint. Using an integrated approach to the whole process, EBIO will validate the new technology by means of a small-scale pilot project (technology readiness level 4 (TRL4)). This will form the basis for later up-scaling of the process. The experimental development will be substantiated by a broad sustainability analysis which will include the economic feasibility and environmental footprint of the technology and its impact on society and the development of rural areas. The scientific and technical knowhow gained, will provide the foundations for a technologically feasible concept with advantages for society, the environment and the economy.