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Co-processing of upgraded bio-liquids in standard refinery units

A European Integrated Project supported through the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and
Technological Development
Energy plays a crucial role in modern life. Its consumption grew by around 2% a year in the decade 1990-2000, and it is expected to
grow even more in 2000-2020.

Whilst fossil fuels remain by far the main source of energy, the development of
renewable energies is an investment for a clean and sustainable energy future.
Indeed, the use of renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuels reduces emission
pollutants, including greenhouse gases and it improves the security of supply by
promoting the diversification of energy production. They are clearly favoured by the

In the EU renewable energy sources provided about 6% of the total energy

requirements and the objective is for that share to reach 12% in 2010. This target
was first set in 1997 by the European Commission in its White Paper “Energy for
the future renewable sources of energy”. Reaching this target would lead to a CO2
reduction of 320 million tonnes per year (compared to about 130 million tonnes
currently). The important role of renewable energies in sustainable development
and climate change was acknowledged in the United National World Summit on
Sustainable Development that was held in Johannesburg in 2002. The development
of renewable energies will also contribute towards a weaker reliance on energy
imports and the fulfilling of international obligations such as the Kyoto protocol.

The main sources of renewable energy include wind, photovoltaics, solar thermal heating and cooling, geothermal heat, and biomass.
Biomass represents today nearly two-thirds of all the renewable energy sources, and it is it only renewable source that can be used
to produce competitively-priced liquid fuels for transport. It will therefore play a significant role in the growing production and use of
renewable energies.

One key challenge is to optimise reliable, efficient and cost effective technologies for the
conversion of biomass.
The BIOCOUP Integrated Project coordinated by VTT in Finland is aimed at developing a
chain of process steps to allow a range of different biomass feedstocks to be co-fed to a
conventional oil refinery to produce energy and oxygenated chemicals.

The overall objective is to respond to the increasing demand of biofuels with a new
innovative processing route.

The overall innovation derives from integration of bio-feedstock procurement with existing non-food industries (energy, pulp and paper)
and processing of the upgraded biomass in existing mineral oil refineries. This will allow a seamless integration of bio-refinery co-
processing products to the end-consumers for products such as transport fuels and chemicals, and thus provide an important stimulus
to biomass acceptance and further technological development of biomass production routes.
The project is organised as 6 Sub-Projects with the following objectives :

SP1 Fractionation and liquefaction of the biomass SP5 Scenario and life cycle analysis
In order to reduce the costs of primary bio-oils, an innovative The most promising optimised biomass-refinery chains (biomass
integrated bio-oil concept will be developed from a number of feedstocks → final products) will be assessed both technically and
viable biomass feedstocks. These oils will be used in subsequent economically.
de-oxygenation processes.
SP6 Transversal activities
SP2 De-oxygenation of bio-oils Dissemination of the knowledge generated with BIOCOUP will
Primary bio-liquids typically have oxygen contents of about 50% be an important activity organised in this sub-project. It will also
and cannot be processed in standard refinery units. Current de- support the management of the project so that the objectives are
oxygenation processes are not mature and are expensive due to achieved with allocated resources.
high hydrogen consumption and costs. The BIOCOUP consortium
aims to develop new integrated approaches to decrease this
oxygen content.
Solid phased Extraction Fractionation :
SP3 Evaluation of upgraded bio-oils in standard refinery units
The opportunities for biomass co-processing in standard refinery
units will be assessed, regarding the technical and economical SPE Manifold SPE Eluates
feasibility. The parameters of the refinery units most viable for
bio-liquid co-processing will be defined, as well as their change
depending on the bio-liquid specifications.

SP4 Production of chemicals from biomass

One of the characteristics of the produced bio-liquids over crude
oil is their high content of oxygenates.
This sub-project will therefore also aim at developing technologies
for the conversion of these bio-intermediates to valuable
products by chemical processes, for developing processes for the
transformation of intermediates and the production of industrial
oxygenated chemicals. It will also include the synthesis of bio- SPE Chromatograms GC-MS/FID

liquid derived thermosetting adhesives .

Co-processing Conventional
Biomass Primary in petroleum fuels
liquefaction De-oxygenation refinery
residues and
Shell Global Solutions
UT International chemicals


Scenario analysis

An international consortium has been established to explore this innovative route calling for cogeneration of
biofuels and chemicals.


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Photo : Shell

Supported by the European commission through the Sixth Framework

Programme for Research and Development with a grant up to 7.6 M€,
the BIOCOUP project addresses the T6 thematic priority : “Sustainable
development, global change and ecosystems”. The project is running since
May 2006 and will last 60 months.
Création :: Comète :: www.comete.com

www.biocoup.eu Project Coordinator:

VTT, Yrjö Solantausta, + 358 20 72 25 517 - yrjo.solantausta@vtt.fi
EC Project Officer:
European Commission, Dr Maria GEORGIADOU, +32-2-29 59 846 - maria.georgiadou@ec.europa.eu
With the support of:
ALMA Consulting Group, Christine Robertson, +33 4 72 35 80 30 - crobertson@almacg.com