BIOFACT successfully applied for analysing RDF fuel delivered to two side-by-side boilers

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Woody biomass role in EU 20% target for RE consumption and influences on pellets trade

How are the EU member states contributing to the 20% target for EU’s renewable energy consumption? Which role for woody biomass and how this influences pellets trade?

A recent paper by Proskurina et al. (Biomass & Bioenergy; discusses this interesting topic. Among the conclusions:

  • For countries that already reach their national biomass targets or have a difference less than 15%, woody biomass plays an important role for electricity generation and H&C sector, mostly for Finland and Austria.
    Finland, Romania, Austria and Sweden have a large biomass potential.
  • Countries whose biomass still needs to increase from 15% to 30% have a realistic likelihood of reaching their own local biomass targets. Denmark, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Slovakia are likely to increase woody biomass use for heat and electricity production.

  • In countries whose required biomass share increase is more than 30%, France and the UK have huge domestic energy consumption, thus, the development of renewables in these countries is crucial. Belgium and the Netherlands have woody biomass demand higher than potential.

Reported trends can be compared with new data from Schipfer et al. (CEBC, 2017, here) presenting their report (here) about the International wood pellet trade for Small-scale heating in the EU. Further details concerning the global wood pellets industry (2017 update) here.

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Japan bioenergy development: BIOFACT 4.0 fuel report for Palm Kernel Shells

Asia’s demand for biomass is growing rapidly. The majority of global demand growth for industrial wood pellets after 2018 is expected to come, due to energy policy, from Japan and South Korea.

In Japan, the market is supported by a feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme which provides a 20-year subsidy to firms producing renewable energy. By March 2017 almost 12GW of biomass projects had been approved under the FIT scheme. Industrial groups are moving in this direction, as an example, ENGIE recently signed a 15-year biomass supply contract with Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Biomass type used in Japan, in general, will be industrial pellets (from Canada, US, Vietnam, Russia) and low grade biomass such as palm kernel shells (PKS) mainly imported from Indonesia and Malaysia.

BIOFACT was recently involved in the analysis of a sample of Palm Kernel Shells. The results are reported in the following.

Download the BIOFACT Fuel Report for a Sample of Palm Kernel Shells
(The results are related to the specific sample: do not represent generalised fuel behaviour)


  • Wood Bioenergy, October 2017.
  • Forward 2/2017 (Valmet).
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BIOFACT helps partner to screen residues from the production of biofuels

We have been recently involved in the screening of lignin rich residues from the biofuels industry!

Lignin rich streams are a side product from agro residues biorefining. Hydrolytic or dried lignin rich effluents may be used e.g.  for heat and power production in gasification and combustion installations.

Example of lignin rich residues from lignocellulose bio refining. Courtesy of N. Cerone et al. by the ENEA, presented at the 25th EUBC&E, Stockholm. All rights reserved to owner.

We screened three samples of lignin rich residues from different sources, for potential energy production applications. For the sake of simplicity, samples have been enumerated here progressively #1-3.

Lignin rich residue #1

Lignin rich residue #2

Lignin rich residue #3

Results are very sample specific and depend on the feedstock initially processed in the biofuels production plant. This information was carefully considered to further explore issues in the lignin residues energy valorization in bio refineries.

BIOFACT helps to define the applicability of different samples of the same fuel but with different compositions.

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BIOFACT used to screen shrub pellets

We have been recently involved in the screening of pellets from low grade woody biomass fuels.

A very interesting variety of pellets are shrub pellets. Shrubs are small to medium-sized woody plants (shorter height than trees) which have persistent stems above the ground. Some of them are invasive species and are growing wild, with the risk of destroying the wildlife habitat.

Harvesting for energy valorization purposes might be a smart management solution. However, from the point of view of the fuel quality, they represent a lower quality range of woody fuels.

We studied for a partner two pellets samples, one reference sample of A1 pine pellets and a sample of the shrub pellets.

Shrub pellets*


A1 pine pellets BIOFACT-C results


Shrub pellets BIOFACT-C results


Combustion tests were performed in a Hargassner boiler (40 kW th) for the two pellets type and the experimental results confirmed the predicted outcomes by the BIOFACT report concerning emissions and ash risks when comparing the two fuels.

Experimental results* are reported here (to compare predictions and experimental results between the two fuels).

Shrub pellets

  • NOx (O2 6%v) = 529 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT Fuel NOx = 52/100.
  • SO2 (O2 10%v) =7 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT SOx = 14/100.
  • HCl (O2 10%v) =3 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT HCl = 4/100.
  • Particles (O2 10%v) = 235 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT PM10 = 12/100.
  • Particle size distribution of the grate ash after combustion tests: % slag > 3 mm = 50%. Small size slags with melting at some points; BIOFACT Slag/agglomeration risk = 31/100.
  • No sinters inside the tubes; BIOFACT Fouling risk = 28/100.

A1 pine pellets

  • NOx (O2 6%v)= 191 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT Fuel NOx = 0/100.
  • SO2 (O2 10%v) =13 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT SOx = 9/100.
  • HCl (O2 10%v.) =0.3 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT HCl = 1/100.
  • Particles (O2 10%v) = 97 (mg/Nm3); BIOFACT PM10 = 3/100.
  • Particle size distribution of the ash gathered on the grate after combustion tests: % slag > 3 mm = 15%. Small pieces of agglomerated ash without melting points. BIOFACT Slag/agglomeration risk = 7/100.
  • No sinters inside the tubes. BIOFACT Fouling risk = 9/100.

Experimental data (including T, duration, text matrix) are published*.

BIOFACT helped to define the applicability of different fuel samples and is a powerful predictive tool before investing for the combustion pilot tests.

Shrub pellets slag matter (shrub pellets combustion).

Fouling on convection pass (shrub pellets combustion).


*Mediavilla et al., Energy 141 (2017).

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Survey on biomass fuels characterization – updated results

Completed questionnaires (>40 entries)

Which operational risks (in combustion) should be predicted by a fuel characterization tool?

  1. Ash fouling
  2. Ash slagging
  3. Ash corrosion
  4. Ash agglomeration
  5. PM, dust emissions
  6. HCl emissions
  7. SOx emissions
  8. Heavy metals emissions

Fuel-technology coupling: which technologies should be considered?

  1. BFBB
  2. CFBB
  3. Fixed bed, large scale
  4. PF (suspension firing)
  5. Gasification, FBB
  6. Gasification, fixed bed
  7. Gasification, EFR
  8. Fixed bed, small scale


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Mapping UK Bioenergy Research 

Developed by the EBRI Group at Aston University, Mapping UK Bioenergy Research Stakeholders provides a current, holistic overview of bioenergy research in the UK to encourage and promote collaboration between research stakeholders.

Bioenergy is the largest contributor to global renewable energy supply but needs to triple its contribution by 2050 to support sector decarbonisation and safeguard future generations.

Download the report


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