Project in the spotlight: BioSFerA

BioSFerA: An international partnership for innovative and sustainable aviation and maritime fuels

On 30th April 2020, the activities of the BioSFerA project (BIOfuels production from Syngas FERmentation for Aviation and maritime use), funded by European Unions’ Horizon 2020 research programme, were launched.

BioSFerA aims to develop a cost-effective interdisciplinary technology to produce sustainable aviation and maritime fuels. Biogenic residues will be gasified, and the syngas will be fermented to produce bio-based triacylglycerides (TAGs). At the end of the project at least two barrels of Hydrotreated TAGs will be produced as next generation aviation and marine biofuels.
BBEPP is responsible for the scale-up of the gas fermentation process from CO/CO2/H2 to acetic acid, as well as the subsequent fermentative conversion of acetic acid to TAGs, bringing the optimized fermentation process to TRL 5.

By exploiting the synergies between biological and thermochemical technologies, BioSFerA will achieve a total carbon utilization above 35% and a minimum selling price <0.7-0.8 €/l. BioSFerA aims to evolve the proposed technology from TRL3 to TRL5. In the TRL3 phase, extensive lab-scale tests will take place in order to optimize the process and increase its feedstock flexibility in terms of non-food biobased blends. Then, building upon lab tests, the pilot-scale runs (TRL5) will investigate the overall process.

In the framework of the BioSFerA project the hydrocarbons compatibility with aviation and marine standards for drop-in fuels will also be verified.

Techno-economic, market, environmental, social and health and safety risk assessments will be performed on the overall BioSFerA process and, together with a process model, allow to achieve a realistic scaling-up scenario. This will allow to develop a cost-effective and versatile value chain with favourable condition for profitable investments around Europe.

The Biosfera international consortium is composed by research and public institutes: CERTH (Greece), VTT (Finland), Fundacion Cartif (Spain), CSIC  (Spain), National technical university of Athens (Greece); a pilot facility: Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (Belgium); and private companies: Kuwait Petroleum Research and Technology B.V. (Netherlands), Rina consulting spa (Italy), Sumitomo shi fw energia oy (Finland), GOOD FUELS (Netherlands), Environment Park spa (Italy).

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