New rules from the U.N. International Maritime Organization will ban ships from using fuels with sulfur content higher than 0.5% w/w and will come into force by 2020 aiming to decrease the pollution of ships. In the project “Sulfur-Free Marine Lignin Fuels” we are investigating a sulfur-free marine fuel that consists of a mixture of lignin in ethylene glycol. The lignin is derived from wood by-product streams after fractionation with organosolv pretreatment while the ethylene glycol is produced by the conversion of the wood cellulose to ethanol (via fermentation) and catalytic conversion of ethanol to ethylene and dehydration to ethylene glycol.
The project ”Sulfur-Free Marine Lignin Fuels” aims to diversify the feedstocks that have previously been used for the production of liquid biofuels to include wood waste such as logging residues and sawdust, and hence lower the impact of land use. In the project we will use a novel semi continuous wood pre-treatment technology based on the organosolv process. By combining the feedstocks and the novel technology, we will be able to demonstrate a significant reduction of 25- 50%, in the cost of producing ethanol which will be used for the production of ethylene glycol. Also the isolated lignin fraction will be sulfur-free. We will apply the LCA methodology to demonstrate the expected low CO2 footprint of the produced fuel. Critical aspects of the environmental assessment that will be addressed within the project are: biogenic carbon storage and emissions and land use change. The project will increase the knowledge of the target groups (the marine sector, biofuel producing companies as well as forest companies, forest owners and research society) on liquified lignin as a fuel for the marine sector.