Fortum and Valmet are developing a technology to produce advanced, high-value lignocellulosic fuels, such as transportation fuels or higher value bio-liquids. The technology is seen as one of the most competitive and efficient ways of producing advanced lignocellulosic biofuels to meet European targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is a natural continuation of the consortium’s earlier bio-oil project with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which resulted in commercializing integrated pyrolysis technology for production of sustainable bio-oil to replace heating oil in industrial use. There is an example in operation at Fortum’s energy plant in Joensuu.

Now the consortium parties, Valmet and Fortum, have agreed on joint development with Preem, a Swedish refinery company, whose contribution and know-how is crucial now that the project has reached the stage of assessing the entire value chain.

Based on the good results of the previous project phase, the companies are moving to larger-scale testing. Preem’s deep understanding and expertise in refinery technology strengthens the project and significantly broadens the knowledge base required to achieve the best results. Preem is aiming for renewables to reach 3 million tonnes a year in transportation fuels by 2030, which is well in line with the sustainability and renewable energy ambitions of the companies involved.

Fortum and Valmet’s role is to develop and commercialize production technology for upgraded pyrolysis oil suitable e.g. as refinery co-feed, based on a thermal pyrolysis technology platform similar to Fortum’s Joensuu bio-oil plant, supplied by Valmet. Preem will focus on processing the upgraded pyrolysis oil into transportation fuels under refinery conditions with feasible technology.

The combined research projects are co-financed by Business Finland in Finland and STEM in Sweden. Successful commercial developments are expected from the project by the end of the decade.