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New project aims to secure Finland’s position in upgrading biomass

Professor Dmitry Murzin’s project Catalytic Slurry Hydrotreatment, CASH, is funded with 600 000 euros by Business Finland. The aim of the project is to develop sustainable chemicals, polymers and fuels from biomass.

Actions to mitigate climate change would require dramatic transformation of critical value chains within the energy, transportation and chemicals sectors, and will take place via development and implementation of sustainable fossil-free technologies.

The target of the project CASH is to secure Finland’s leading position in developing and exploiting innovative technologies for the upgrading of abundant lignocellulosic biomass to low carbon chemicals, polymers and transportation fuels.

– This is needed to secure the supply of crucial materials of high demand and societal value in a sustainable way, says Dmitry Murzin, leader of the project and Professor at the Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry and Reaction Engineering at Åbo Akademi University.

Lignocellulose is a combination of mainly lignin and cellulose. It is a relatively abundant raw material naturally occurring in living organisms such as trees and grass, and commonly used in mechanical pulp.

Lignocellulose is a complex raw material. It offers tremendous opportunities to eliminate fossil-based feedstock, but doing so in a scalable and economically viable way is challenging.

– This requires the development of a novel process concept along with design of new advanced and robust high performance heterogeneous catalysts, says Murzin.

– Our research project will aim at developing an innovative process concept for the catalytic hydrotreatment of bio-oils from lignocellulosic biomass liquefaction. Catalyst and process development will be pursued in parallel with development of the concept for catalyst regeneration and active metal recovery.

Technical and economic feasibility of the developed concept will be evaluated on the basis of laboratory scale experiments.

The research project will be carried out by three research partners: VTT, Åbo Akademi University and University of Oulu. It will establish a consortium with strong industrial representation throughout the value chain to ensure business-oriented steering and goal setting. Consortium companies are SMEs ESL Shipping, Meriaura and Savon Voima, and large companies Fortum Waste Solutions, Neste, St1 and Valmet.

Technologies for a Sustainable Future is one of Åbo Akademi University’s four research profiles.