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SEKAB receives major EU funding to demonstrate the production of isobutene-derived gasoline and jetfuel from wood

Press Release   •   May 22, 2018 04:19 EDT

European financing package amounting to €13.9 million, of which €4.2 million for SEKAB E-Technology AB. Industry consortium led by Global Bioenergies and bringing together SEKAB E-Technology, Graanul Invest, Neste Engineering Solutions, Repsol, PEAB, SkyNRG, Ajinomoto Eurolysine, IPSB, TechnipFMC and Linz University. Aim at converting softwood residues into isobutene derivatives for use in gasoline and jetfuel.

SEKABtoday announces the signature of a grant agreement aiming at demonstrating a new value chain to convert currently poorly valorised wood residues into second generation renewable gasoline, jetfuel and valuable co-products. The value chain combines Global Bioenergies’ Isobutene process with SEKAB’s CelluAPP® and Neste Engineering Solutions, NExETHERS and NExOCTANE technologies. SEKAB will deconstruct residual wood into sugar, lignin and perform subsequent valorisation. This intense, 36 months cooperation starts on June 1st 2018.

Biomass is frequently considered as an alternative feedstock to fossil oil to address the issues of climate change and resources depletion as well as energy independence of European nations. However, such substitution is far from trivial and innovative processes are needed to efficiently convert residual biomass into drop-in intermediates and end products.

The present project, gathering renowned industrialists from various fields, aims at developing new value chains from low value renewable feedstocks towards bio-isobutene and eventually to advanced biofuels and valuable coproducts such as bitumen and animal feed. By adopting world class technologies and by creating new partnerships, the project will set the foundations of a first-of-a-kind biorefinery converting residual wood to high performances drop-in renewable gasoline and jetfuel.

With an estimated forestry residues potential of about 145Mt/year, the European Union has the potential to support the deployment of hundreds of such biorefineries without the need to access virgin raw material.

The 11 project partners arising from 8 EU-member States have signed an agreement with the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) which manages the Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy societal challenge of the Horizon 2020 program. The objective is to demonstrate the new value chain by combining the technologies and know-how of participants as follows:

  • Residual wood supply by Graanul Invest (Estonia)
  • Wood conversion to hydrolysates by Sekab, using its CelluAPP® technology (Sweden),
  • Hydrolysates fermentation to bio-isobutene by Global Bioenergies (France and Germany),
  • Bio-isobutene conversion to fuel components by Neste Engineering Solutions (Finland),
  • Preliminary engineering of a wood-to-isobutene plant and overall integration with a fuel conversion unit by echnipFMC and IPSB (France),
  • Evaluation of Gasoline applications by Repsol (Spain)
  • Evaluation of Jetfuel application by Sky NRG (Netherlands)
  • Valorisation of the lignin side stream by PEAB (Sweden)
  • Valorisation of the dried killed residual biomass by Ajinomoto Eurolysine (France), and
  • Assessment of the sustainability and environmental benefits by the Energy Institute at the University of Linz (Austria).

INEA’s mission is to support the Commission, project promoters and stakeholders by providing expertise and high quality of program management to infrastructure, research and innovation projects in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications, and to promote synergies between these activities, to benefit economic growth and EU citizens.

The project was selected under the name REWOFUEL (N°792104), in the frame of the European HORIZON 2020 programme for research and innovation, following a very selective and competitive process led by independent experts.

The programme covers a total budget of €19.7 million. Non-refundable grants totalling €13.9 million will be provided by the EU, with the remainder being contributed by the participants. SEKAB will receive funding amounting to €4.2 million for fractionation of residual wood into sugars, lignin and subsequent valorisation at the BDP (Biorefinery Demo Plant) in Ornskoldsvik and together with partners at their facilities.

Contact information

Jonas Markusson, Innovation Manager, SEKAB E-Technology, +46 70-644 09 96,

Monica Normark, Project Manager Rewofuel, SEKAB E-Technology, +46 70-230 14 86,

SEKAB is a Swedish Clean Technology Company. We develop Technology for new product options based on cellulose raw materials and make the technology available through licensing.

Society is facing a huge challenge in replacing old energy sources with new ones. SEKAB seeks to play its part in the transition to a future with a reduced demand for fossil fuels and raw materials. We will achieve this through the ethanol we produce and import, turning it into biofuels in various forms and green chemicals.

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