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Paving the way for biofuels

Green advisor

Paving the way for biofuels

One important step towards a more sustainable society is to reduce the use of fossil fuels. In 2012 Sweden used fossil fuels to supply 31 percent (178 TWh) of its total energy needs. ÅF has led a study to improve prospects for district heating plant owners to make a successful transition from fossil fuels to liquid biofuels.

Today the transport sector is the biggest user of fossil fuels with the industry in second place. Fossil fuels supply 20.6 percent of industry’s energy, compared to 2.3 percent for the property sector. As a result more and more district heating plants are switching to liquid biofuels, but the market for these is underdeveloped and the knowledge needed to convert current facilities is undeveloped. ÅF has led a study to improve prospects for plant owners seeking to make a successful transition from fossil fuels to liquid biofuels.


Improved market transparency

At the request of the Swedish Thermal Engineering Research Institute (Värmeforsk), ÅF led a project with the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) to investigate how to improve market transparency in terms of the trade in and the management of liquid biofuels.


Three main aims

The aim has been threefold: to develop a system for classifying liquid biofuels to be used in stationary combustion plants; to simplify routines for testing and analyzing different types of liquid biofuels; and to formulate concrete advice for procuring equipment and converting plant. ÅF experts collated experiences and knowledge from the involved companies and organisations and a reference group with broad-based competence in this specialist field was also set up.



Classification system

The result was a proposed classification of liquid biofuels according to their lowest fluid temperature and a table of comparison with other fuels, such as heating oil. Five classes of bio-oils were proposed (BO1 to BO5) based on the most common fuel qualities currently in the market.


Insights into plant conversions

In addition, the project group proposed minimum requirements for the choice of materials and equipment when converting plant from oil to liquid biofuels. Together with a compilation of various experiences from users who have changed to liquid biofuel, the group also produced a survey of costs for converting different sizes of plant.


Significantly reduced emissions

The project group’s findings will make it easier for plant owners to convert to biofuel boilers in an efficient and ecofriendly way, and this information will now be made available to those within the industry. Improved information and a clearer market overview pave the way for a significant reduction in emissions. In 2013 the replacement of fossil fuel with liquid biofuels in Sweden led to a reduction of

1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. The new knowledge created by this study should make it possible to reduce emissions even further.