The HTL (hydrothermal liquefaction) technology, which under high pressure and temperature converts wet biomass into bio-oil, can become a genuine quantum leap in the battle to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.
Although the technology is not completely in its infancy, it has yet to achieve commercial breakthrough.
Researchers at Aarhus University have been working to change this. Under the auspices of the research platform HTL, a pilot plant for hydrothermal conversion of biomass to fuel has been created and officially inaugurated in May 2015. The outcome is a viscous oil that can be refined to diesel oil and a considerable number of other products.
The plant has and continues to facilitate research in the conversion of a significant number of wet lignocellulose by-products and energy crops from agriculture and industry.
Facilities are set up beside the HTL plant for extracting proteins from green biomass, thereby creating a combined platform for biorefining on a pilot scale. This common platform plays alongside other established activities at Aarhus University in fields such as biogas and harvest technology, as well as extensive experiments with improved resource efficiency in biomass production.
The pilot plant is designed in order to accommodate a subsequent upscaling to demonstration and full-scale levels.