Burning bio-oil to heat homes more sustainably – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

An EU-funded task has perfected the production of bio-oil and altered boilers to heat properties – recycling farm and forestry squander although cutting greenhouse gas emissions.


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© arrow #235592411 source:inventory.adobe.com 2020

The vast majority of properties in Europe are heated by normal gas or oil. Switching to alternative, sustainable fuels – this sort of as bio-oil made from farm and forestry squander – would substantially lessen greenhouse gas emissions and support to combat international warming.

In Germany alone, it has been calculated that altering just ten % of the country’s previous-fashioned boilers to run on bio-oil could lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by all around five.five million tonnes for every 12 months.

The aim of the EU-funded RESIDUE2HEAT task was to deliver a handy liquid fuel from a large selection of squander biomass, which could be used in tiny-scale boilers to deliver affordable, much more sustainable residential heating.

The scientists took a two-phase strategy. Initial, they searched for approaches to make improvements to liquid biofuel developed by means of a method known as rapid pyrolysis. The obstacle with this sort of fuel – known as rapid pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO) – is that even the most innovative residential heating methods are unable to deal with its inconsistent properties. So, the task workforce labored to deliver a standardised product or service, regardless of the raw resources used to make it.

RESIDUE2HEAT then seemed into adapting residential boilers to render them capable of burning this fuel.

‘Our novel FPBO-fuelled boiler meets most operational and environmental requires in the genuine meant ecosystem,’ clarifies task coordinator Herbert Pfeifer of RWTH Aachen University in Germany and scientific head of the OWI Oel-Waerme-Institut gGmbH, affiliated to the college. ‘And an environmental effects evaluation has confirmed the beneficial impacts of FPBO heating in comparison to fossil alternate options, specially when it arrives to lowering greenhouse gas emissions (eighty-ninety four %).’

Redesigning heating for properties

Utilizing the rapid pyrolysis method, squander biomass – this sort of as wheat straw, forest resides, bark, elephant grass and clean wood – can be transformed into bio-oil. Starting by modelling how FPBO breaks down and burns, the RESIDUE2HEAT workforce then used the ensuing facts to tailor the fuel to match residential heating.

By making sure consistency in the fuel’s chemical properties, this sort of as h2o articles, they succeeded in improving its stability and good quality.

Upcoming, they seemed at adapting and optimising existing residential heating methods to enable the use of FPBO. A complicated method, this needed the redesign and manufacture of appropriate burner components to optimise the burning of this fuel.

Normal components used in heating methods, this sort of as pumps and fuel nozzles, were examined for their FPBO compatibility. Since so minimal was known about FPBO combustion, RESIDUE2HEAT scientists examined the fuel’s behaviour in laboratory-scale burners before scaling up the method.

Swap to biomass

The workforce has also concluded a phase-by-phase roll-out plan for the use of FBPO in residential heating, interviewing gas, oil, and pellet heating process homeowners to assure a beneficial community acceptance. Importantly, they have demonstrated that the thought is price-competitive with existing fossil fuels with out the will need for incentives, earning it economically viable.

‘Ashes recovered from the FPBO production method have excellent prospective for providing soil vitamins and minerals and could thus be recycled for agricultural apps,’ provides Pfeifer.

The workforce expect that their techniques for developing higher-good quality FPBO will give a head get started to other investigate programmes, this sort of as the EU-funded SmartCHP task, which aims to build tiny-scale units for producing heat and electrical energy from biomass.