To successively introduce a new biofuel, it has to meet requirements in all part of the long supply and production chain. In addition, the raw material base must meet different sustainable criteria’s and environmental aspects.
To replace fossil fuels with renewable alternative in our vehicles is a huge challenge! Before the actual movement of e.g. a car, tractor or truck, the fuel has gone through a long chain. It has been refined to a well-functioning fuel, it has been transported and distributed, and finally ended up at the consumer where it is used and converted together with the engine and its parts.
We conduct research in how biofuels can be produced from different resource streams, irrespective of forest or agricultural origin, dedicated feedstocks or rest products (logging residues from forest operation). As for fossil oil, biomaterials can be processed and refined to a wide range of biofuels (or products) such as e.g. petroleum, diesel and biojet fuel. To make production feasible and cost-efficient, the value chain must be designed and managed effectively.
We especially research the environmental consequences of different types of biofuel production and use. Depending on production technology and feedstock, different land requirements are associated with the production. Growing for biofuel production can result in indirect effects, e.g. other production is moved or unused land starts to be used.
Even in the case of a feedstock solely based on residues, the environmental effects can be significant, e.g. removal of biomass that otherwise would have decayed at the site.
At the countryside, due to distance and geography, one challenge can be to find ways to bring the produced fuel to the market. It is of great concern to develop business models and logistic systems to help more bring more upgraded and high-value products to the market. Thereby, value chain questions becomes central when designing and planning for new systems. At the department, we also investigate the use of biofuels in the existing set of agricultural machines, e.g. how a produced biofuel behave in the engine or the exhaust. Also more broadened research questions such as pros and cons of biofuel use, ways of cope with logistic challenges, practical and monetary implication for the user are handled by the department.