The magazine of bioenergy and the bioeconomy April 2021
Biotechnology driving innovation in the French biobased Industry Tripling biogas production by 2030 | Hydrogen from biomass Biomobilitytm in India | Relay cropping | HTL | SAF
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SOLUTIONS FOR THE GREEN DEAL In its report “World Energy Transition Outlook” released last March, IRENA outlines a pathway for the world to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, based on options to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 °C and bring CO2 emissions closer to net zero by 2050. The report highlights that the energy transition is already taking place, shaping a new energy system that will be based on renewable technologies, many of which already largely existing today, and acknowledges a very important role for bioenergy together with renewable power and green hydrogen. In the 1.5 °C scenario drawn by IRENA, the share of final energy met with (modern) bioenergy increases to 17% in 2050 from around 1.5% globally today, with a priority for producing advanced biofuels for the aviation and shipping sectors, but also as a feedstock for the chemical industry and for industrial heating. In addition, BECCS would contribute over 52% of the carbon captured over the period to 2050, with applications for power and heat production and in industrial processes such as in cement production. Meeting this target will require a combination of technology and innovation to advance the energy transition and improve carbon management, supportive and proactive policies, associated job creation, socio-economic improvements and international cooperation, to guarantee energy availability and access. In the spirit of BE-Sustainable and of the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, this issue is about solutions to today’s challenges, that can be brought forward by pursuing continuous efforts in research, development, and innovation. For example, in the agricultural sector, years of R&I demonstrate that with an efficient use of agricultural land, integrated food-energy cropping systems could increase biomass availability, while responding to the improved nutrient management and crop rotations obligations, which will likely be set by the new CAP. Another example is agricultural biogas, where the use of lignocellulosic residues such as cereal straw, considered as a quite challenging feedstock for anaerobic digestion, has become a reality in the last years, by improving the pre-treatment process. Thanks also to these innovations, in Denmark the share of biomethane in the gas grid has more than doubled in just one year, from 11% in 2020 to 21.5% in 2021. Now the increasingly large amounts of CO2 recovered from biogas upgrading, could be coupled with the increasing share of renewable electricity from wind and solar and the emerging hydrogen electrolyzing capacity, in power-to-X (PtX) applications to produce methane, methanol and other electrofuels. Hydrogen is one of the main pillars of the Europe’s decarbonization strategy, and a review article in this issue explains that there are ready alternatives to produce renewable hydrogen from biomass that could be also potentially integrated in a biorefinery concept. Other biomass-based solutions are presented in this issue, some of them are closer to market than others, but all of them show that through science, research and innovation, the versatility and the potential of biomass can be harnessed sustainably so that this resource can play its important role towards net zero emissions and other objectives of the EU Green Deal. Enjoy reading.
Maurizio Cocchi Editor
BE sustainable ETA-Florence Renewable Energies via Giacomini, 28 50132 Florence - Italy www.besustainablemagazine.com Issue 12 - April 2021 ISSN- 2283-9486
Editorial Note M. Cocchi
Biotechnology: an innovation driver in the French biobased industry O. Rolland, M. O'Donohue, INRAE, France 6 Exploring the potential for calories and bioenergy in France E. Gossiaux, P.-A. Jayet, INRAE, France 11 Integrating food-energy cropping systems in temperate climates W. Zegada-Lizarazu, A. Monti, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy 18 How to triple the biogas production by 2030 through sustainable biomass J. B. Holm-Nielsen, Center for Bioenergy and Green Engineering, Aalborg University, Denmark 22 Hydrogen from biomass: challenges and perspectives M. Buffi, M. Prussi, N. Scarlat, JRC, Directorate C - Energy, Transport and Climate Energy Efficiency and Renewables 26 Algae to kerosene: the green wake M. Prussi, JRC, N. Scarlat, JRC, Directorate C - Energy, Transport and Climate Energy Efficiency and Renewables 30 A mandatory market for SAF closer than ever K. Arts, SkyNRG, The Netherlands 34 Hydrothermal Liquefaction in the Green Energy Transition G. I. Rodio, ETA Florence Renewable Energies, Italy 38 Ushering An Era of Bio-mobilityTM in India S. Joshipura, CEO & Managing Director, Praj Industries Ltd, India
Mobilizing Resources, enabling policies and investments for cost-competitive renewable fuels and bioenergy M. Cocchi, ETA Florence Renewable Energies, Italy 45 EBIO project will produce biofuels through electrochemical transformation of intermediate bioliquids G. I. Rodio, M. Cocchi, ETA Florence Renewable Energies, Italy 50 Biofuel production and phytoremediation solutions from contaminated lands worldwide: Phy2Climate S. Capaccioli, M. Cocchi, ETA Florence Renewable Energies, Italy 50 References 51 Upcoming bioenergy events
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BIOTECHNOLOGY: AN INNOVATION DRIVER IN THE FRENCH BIOBASED INDUSTRY Olivier Rolland, Michael O'Donohue, INRAE France
In France, a range of public and private initiatives in industrial biotechnologies are contributing to the development of the circular bioeconomy.
lobal biomass production and use are under pressure, with the planet’s natural resources facing numerous threats, from the negative effects of climate change to ever-intensifying industrialization, mixed with unsustainable consumer behavior and increasing food and energy needs. Considering today’s societal challenges, biomass has a critical role to play in the transition from an economy powered by fossil
energy, to a bioeconomy and, more broadly, a circular bioeconomy. This transition is urgently needed to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change. However, to successfully transit to a circular bioeconomy, available biomass must be used efficiently, meeting both increasing food demand and non-food needs, while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance
of territorial autonomy within the wider global economy. This is important for territorial resilience and to ensure national sovereignty in strategic manufacturing areas. For these reasons, biomass production and usage must be improved, optimized and stabilized to guarantee future biomass availability. In the context of a circular bio economy, industrial biotechnology has a major part to play. This
family of technology is incredibly well adapted for biomass-based processes and for building circular value chains. EXPLOITING THE VERSATILITY OF INDUSTRIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY Industrial biotechnology involves biological catalysts that derive from living systems and their natural components and offers the possibility to operate sober processes that alleviate environmental pressure exerted by current manufacturing methods. Exploiting the versatility of industrial biotechnology provides the means to optimize available biomass, making a range of products from single crops and thus reducing pressure on land use. Moreover, industrial biotechnology supports a variety of environmental services, such as bioactive molecules for biocontrol systems to improve crop management or carbon and mineral recycling processes to maintain soil fertility. In the field of polymers, industrial biotechnology has been harnessed to convert biomass into performance materials, such as the conversion of sugarcane or sugar beet into biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA). Moreover, industrial biotechnology offers the possibility to couple environmental services to manufacturing, converting waste into useful products. Using breakthrough technologies such as those developed by LanzaTech or Carbios, it is possible to use industrial or consumer waste streams, such as still mill exhaust gas and waste plastics, to build useful molecules, or recover monomeric building blocks, thus allowing a fresh manufacturing cycle and avoiding environmental pollution that would result from traditional waste treatment. Industrial biotechnology also provides solutions for growing food and energy demands because microbial fermentation processes
deliver different types of energy dense molecules that can be used as fuels (e.g. aviation fuel) as well as highly nutritive ingredients, while cell culture technologies furnish meat substitutes. So far, the large-scale deployment of industrial biotechnology is limited to several well-documented examples, such as the production of sugar-derived (mostly from sugarcane, corn and sugar beet) ethanol (>80 Mt/year) or the manufacture of specialty products (insulin, vitamins, amino-acids etc.). Its wider deployment is however hampered not only by the persistence of cheap fossil resources, but also by the relative immaturity of the sector. In its present 21st century form, industrial biotechnology is still a growing field displaying untapped potential. Efforts to develop this industry have so far been fragmented and insufficient to drive this technology family to a higher level of manufacturing maturity France’s unique innovation model dedicated to deeptech biotechnology start-ups. THE FRENCH POTENTIAL IN BIO-BASED INDUSTRY As a circular bioeconomy player, France possesses numerous advantages. It is well-endowed with biomass resources, with significant forest and a powerful agriculture sector, being a major producer of cereals and sugar beet. In 2010, 16% of all agricultural land in the European Union (EU) was located within French territory, and in 2014 France was the single biggest (18% of total EU production) producer of agricultural products in the EU. More recently, the role of biomass has been publicly recognized as a key factor in the post-pandemic relaunch of the French economy. It is anticipated that biomass will play a central role in helping France to green its economy and
achieve ambitious targets regarding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the improvement of overall sustainability. Prior to the pandemic, France was already mustering political support for the development of biomassbased value chains and the further maturation of biotechnology. This is being achieved using France’s Investments for the Future Program (PIA) operated by the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME). Since the pandemic, France has been amplifying its efforts and promoting bioeconomyoriented policy as illustrated in the recent France Relance recovery plan. Advantageously, France boasts a vibrant industrial ecosystem that covers the length and breadth of biomass-based value chains. Through a cooperative system, several large agro-industrial players, such as Limagrain or Vivescia, provide a solid basis for biomass production, while internationallyrenowned companies such as Lesaffre or Roquette support biomass-based manufacturing. In addition to these industrial giants, France also benefits from a well-organized R&D ecosystem, including national research institutes such as INRAE (see box), CNRS and CEA, technical universities (e.g. INSA), incubation structures (e.g. Genopole), investors (e.g. Sofinnova Partners, Truffle Capital), as well as from a whole host of innovative start-ups (e.g. Metabolic Explorer, Global Bioenergies etc.). Within France’s biobased industry ecosystem, TWB is an organizational innovation based on a unique public-private partnership model. At the heart of TWB is a unique capability based on experimental hardware that forms a highly automated, cutting-edge bioprocess development infrastructure and a technology-driven team, designed 7 Be
rights and licenses) and accelerates project pipelines. Fostering synergies between all stakeholders requisite for the development of biobased products and services, TWB forms a hub where public and private researchers are able to translate ideas into innovation, receiving advice and support along the process, bringing innovation to preindustrial maturity.
and dedicated to support bioprocess development (including biological catalysts) up to the preindustrial stage (from Manufacturing Readiness Levels - MRL 3 to 6). It is operated by three of France’s leading research operators: INRAE, CNRS and the technical university INSA Toulouse. The genius of TWB resides in its flourishing public-private ecosystem that confers TWB with the knowledge continuum necessary to conduct R&D across the innovation 8 Be
divide. Public knowledge assets form the bedrock of innovations that are further nurtured and completed using the combined knowledge and knowhow of a variety of companies, on the one hand large industrial groups, SMEs and start-ups focusing on product and process development, and on the other investors and tech transfer funding specialists. All these stakeholders are bound by an innovative, overarching consortium agreement that fluidifies exchanges (notably regarding intellectual property
INRAE: A MAJOR EUROPEAN CONTRIBUTOR TO BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INRAE’s commitment to the circular bioeconomy transition is reflected by its strong investment in biotechnology-related research. As shown by its publication record (over 350 publications per year in WoS fields related to biotechnology for industry and the environment), INRAE is a significant contributor to the biotechnology field. Key laboratories are in several cities, but notably in Marseille, Narbonne, Paris region, and Rennes, with a strong biotechnology pole located in Toulouse, which is home to both the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute (TBI) and its close neighbour TWB. INRAE’s activities in the field cover the whole spectrum, from systems and synthetic biology to bioprocess development. INRAE’s laboratory in Narbonne is a world leader in the field of waste treatment and biogas production, while TWB and TBI are heading IBISBA (www.ibisba.eu), which is an ESFRI-recognized European distributed research infrastructure specialized in synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology. In Marseille, INRAE’s research is supported by a major collection of filamentous fungi that provides a rich source of novel biomass-active enzymes. INRAE’s activities in biotechnology are also supported by an impressive range of cutting edge experimental infrastructure, which in addition to TWB, include transcriptomics
and metabolomics core facilities for systems biology research, automated enzyme discovery platforms, and a range of pilot scale facilities supporting INRAE’s activities in the field of waste valorization research. TWB is particularly supportive of start-ups, which have been a major activity of the TWB story since the outset. Using its unique collaborative framework, TWB has played a part in the growth of successful companies that are now at the industrial development stage such as Carbios (www.carbios.fr), with its enzyme-based process to recycle plastic and Amoeba (www. amoeba-nature.com), with its process to produce biocides and biocontrol systems. Since 2015, TWB has also hosted 7 start-ups in its premises, offering them access
to cutting edge technologies and in-house expertise. In each case, TWB’s contribution has enabled start-ups to mature their technology and lower their development costs. During their stay with TWB, startups also benefit from a range of support services, including help with administration and business development, scientific mentoring and numerous networking opportunities. Examples of TWB-hosted start-ups include Micropep Technologies, Green Spot Technologies and iMean. Having discovered a novel family of plant-based molecules, Micropep is now building a unique discovery pipeline aimed at unleashing the ability of plants to defend themselves. Green Spot Technologies is developing a fermentation platform
to convert fruit and vegetable byproducts into highly nutritious ingredients, while iMean is developing digital twins of various organisms that are used as predictive tools to help clients to get the best out of their biobased processes. All of these companies are contributing to the development of the circular bioeconomy developing sustainable solutions for a variety of biobased markets. The level of engagement with startups is ‘à la carte’ and can involve strategic partnership aimed at co-development and cocommercialization of technologies. TWB has also been active at the European level, organizing an annual competition (the TWB Start-Up Day) that rewards winning companies and entrepreneurs with access to its platforms and to
mentoring, leveraging its publicprivate ecosystems to deliver it. Finally, TWB is also actively involved in public-private innovation con tracts. These are large, multi-year, multi-partner programs aimed at developing implementable biotech processes. Current projects include BioImpulse (www.bioimpulse.fr), led by the Michelin Group. It aims to develop a process enabling the manufacture of a new biobased adhesive resin devoid of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). At the European level, TWB is also involved in an ambitious initiative, entitled Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator (IBISBA), which ambitions to launch a pan-European research infrastructure to support industrial biotechnology. THE EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY LANDSCAPE Europe is a powerhouse of industrial biotechnology, possessing all the ingredients for success, although its resources are inevitably fragmented because of Europe’s current political organization. Its key players are the United King dom (now no longer a member of the European Union), Germany and France. In terms of infrastructure, over the last decade all these countries and others have invested in industrial biotechnology, with UK public investment focusing on accelerating the development of synthetic biology. In terms of bioprocess development facilities, these are scattered across the European continent with examples being IBioIC and the National Industrial Biotechnology Facility (UK), the center for Chemical-Biotechnological Proces ses CBP (Germany) and TWB (France), although many others can be cited. Globally speaking, the coordination of industry bio 10 Be
tech nology-related focused infra structure at the European level is lacking and even national co ordination is rarely a strong feature of the landscape. When coordination does exist, it is often at a local level in the form of clusters and business parks (e.g. DTU Biosustain, which is part of a dense biotech ecosystem that encompasses Copenhagen and Malmö). Overall, this leads to a rather fragmented innovation landscape. Regarding financing, Europe is also lagging when compared to the USA, where capital investment is much more readily available for innovators. Nevertheless, within the EU some local initiatives are bolstering innovation. For example, since its creation in 2018 the BioInnovation Institute Foundation (BII), supported by Denmark’s Novo Nordisk Foundation, has funded 85 life science start-ups, awarding a total of 48M€. Similarly, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), which receives finances from the Flemish (Belgium) government, provides a host of services in support of biotech innovators. Together, BII, VIB and TWB are good examples of successful publicprivate partnerships that leverage a range of financial resources to ensure that innovation is nurtured all along the maturation pathway. Additionally, at the pan-European level the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking has so far mobilized €1 billion in funds to support 123 R&I projects. This successful scheme is set to be renewed in the form of the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking. The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator is also supporting high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises, with support in the form of grants (up to €2.5M) and equity (up to €15M).
To address the intrinsic fragmen tation of the Europe’s R&D&I infrastructure landscape the IBISBA initiative is looking to create a simplified entry point for clients. This bold initiative requires consi derable organizational innovation aimed at harmonizing business practices across a network of research infrastructure and developing the means to deliver seamless, bespoke R&D&I services. IBISBA’s aim is to provide end-toend bioprocess development using different access modes adapted to the needs of both academics and companies, with a special focus on SMEs. As a European research infrastruc ture present on the ESFRI roadmap, IBISBA is currently under preparation. Ongoing work is focusing on the development of advanced digital tools, such as its IBISBAhub (a digital knowledge commons) and on the definition of IBISBA’s governance structure, the aim being to bring together different European members states as stakeholders of a single legal structure able to deliver efficient services to clients. A final defining feature of the European landscape related to industrial biotechnology is regu lation. Current European regulation supports the bioeconomy transition, incentivizing the use of biomass and promoting, for example, the production of renewable biobased energies (the European Renewable Energy Directive). Nevertheless, more needs to be done to encourage the development of biobased markets and to promote breakthrough technologies, such as synthetic biology. This is vital to remain competitive in the world arena and to ensure that the European Union can continue to impose its rigorous standards on its trading partners.
EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL FOR CALORIES AND BIOENERGY IN FRANCE Eva Gossiaux, Pierre-Alain Jayet , INRAE, France
The current agricultural production system is investigated in terms of biomass supply for both food calories and energy.
n the European Union, as in many EU member states, public policy projects are outlined to respond to the multiple arising challenges such as food security, energy transition and
rising energy demand, along with the transversal objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Biomass, while having various end-
uses and competing for already pressured production resources (land, water), remains the primary source of renewable energy in the European Union. Although, the share of agricultural
Harvesting of Miscanthus giganteus at the INRAE experimental site Estrées-Mons. Source INRAE.
crops and co-products, dedicated energy crops and waste reuse would have to increase to meet European targets, adding pressure on our agricultural systems to meet multiple purposes: food, feed and energy production, and a significant role in the mitigation of GHGE and the protection of the environment. Identifying the availability and scale of resources across territories is crucial to determine the viability of our policy responses to the issues at stake and the role of biofuels particularly, but also to foster the development of stable and sustainable biomass value chains. We propose to study to which extent the current agricultural production system of the European Union could meet such ambitious objectives, in a technically and economically realistic environment, in terms of biomass supply for both food calories and energy, and provide an assessment of the tensions it imposes on the system. We choose to focus on secondgeneration biomass feedstocks as a development pathway to use and produce biomass more efficiently, and to investigate the role of non-food feedstock in alleviating the competition for agricultural biomass and the pressure on the environment, although the competition for land can remain. We represent the potential of agricultural biomass production for road transport biofuels. The production set illustrated in this article is for France, as a preliminary exercise, by varying the thresholds for food calories and bioenergy simultaneously. Results at the EU scale will be presented at the EUBCE 2021. METHODOLOGICAL ELEMENTS Our analysis relies on the agroeconomic supply-side model AROPAj . AROPAj is a linear programming model describing the annual 12 Be
choices of the European farmers in terms of land allocation among numerous crops, vegetables and animal production and other activities, as well as the associated pollution (CH4 and N2O emissions from various sources). The farmers are clustered in farm groups within each region based on a statistical representation of the techno-economic characteristics observed in FADN individual data to represent a wide array of technical constraints and behaviors among European farmers. The current version of the model is based on the year 2012, the scope is EU-27, and we use it in aggregate mode, which aims at selecting the level of all supply variables for each farm group to maximize the total gross margin of the system, subject to several constraints related to cropping requirements, animal breeding, land endowment and CAP directives. For the purpose of our analysis, the AROPAj model is augmented by allowing for the net food calories (accounting for on-farm consumption) and biofuel quantities produced to be constrained across farm-groups, differentiating the respective production of biodiesel and bioethanol from the agricultural resources produced by the system, weighted by crop and fuel dependent conversion coefficients. Note that we only introduce the transformation of biomass to biofuels in AROPAj through this single fuel yield coefficient, without accounting for market considerations, nor transportation or processing costs. Quantities related to food calories are expressed in metric tons of soft wheat equivalent (tsweq), based on the caloric content for each product with respect to that of soft wheat. Furthermore, as the country’s dependence on imports for proteins is already one of the main
issues at stake for its food security, we track changes in domestic food production regarding the production of proteins. We used FAO data and methods to calculate caloric content and protein content in terms of caloric yield  . We introduce several perennial crops in the model and the collection of conventional crop residues potentially available for biofuel transformation. Agricultural by-products yields are derived on the basis of an existing methodology   . We use documented crop-specific correlations to compute residue-toyield ratios based on farm-groups known crop yield. We then calculate the potential yield of crop residues in each farm-group, using default residue collection rates of 40% for cereals and 50% for corn, rapeseed and sunflower which complies with technical constraints and is in line with the average environmental requirements for the preservation of organic carbon stocks commonly used in the literature. Miscanthus x Giganteus and Switch grass are introduced in the AROPAj model by using the “Faustmann” rule to compute net present values . Potential yields are econometrically correlated to the farm-group cereal yield and allow us to determine the optimal duration of rotation so as to maximize the gross margin of cultivating the crop over time with annual harvests. From there, we can calculate the average yield of dry matter per year and the discounted costs at the farm-group level . This is an imperfect estimation, mainly because of a lack of data; however, it can be considered as a reasonable representation of feasible production observed for these crops under favorable conditions. We include 4 other perennial crops which have been widely explored for bioenergy and are susceptible
a) Aggregate gross margin (M€)
c) Shadow price associated with the calorie constraint (€/kgsweq)
b) Aggregate GHG emissions (MtCO2eq)
d) Shadow price associated with the biodiesel constraint (€/kgoe)
Notes: In linear programming problems, a shadow price or dual value is associated with each constraint. It represents the marginal cost on the whole system of strengthening the constraint, in terms of the decrease it incurs in the gross margin at optimum, therefore defining an implicit price for the production under consideration. Figure 1.c. for instance depicts the marginal cost for the agricultural system of an increase in the food calories requirement. The negative sign on these values is only related to the technical specification of the constraint in the model and can be disregarded for interpretation.
Figure 1 - Production frontier obtained for France with 1138 simulations given various biofuel and food calories production goals. Along the x-axis, we vary the net calorie production threshold, QCL, expressed in kilotons of soft wheat equivalent (ktsweq). Along the y-axis, QNR denotes the targeted total production of biofuels, in kilotons of oil equivalent (ktoe). In each panel, this same production set is contrasted in terms of various characteristics of the solution that was reached under each pair of constraints.
Figure 2 - Evolution of the area sharing (in % of UAA) of cereal crops, oilseeds and proteins, energy crops, fodders, grasslands (permanent and temporary) and fallow lands for various calorie thresholds, ranging from 0 to 87500 ktsweq, and biofuel targets, from 5000 to 40000 kgoe (split between biodiesel and bioethanol according to a fixed ratio). As background, the UAA of mainland France in AROPAj is 23.6 Mha.
to be grown as energy crops in Europe: Eucalyptus, Black Locust, Poplar, and Willow. As such, we can explore diverse sources of biomass with geographical heterogeneity, in terms of both profitability and biomass production efficiency. To document these crops in the model, we follow the crop management itinerary advised by the LIGNOGUIDE project publications . We compute yields based on an econometric relation between Willow and Oat yield, adjusted for the other crops to meet an average reference yield. The possibility to grow Eucalyptus, which shows more sensibility to cold, is restricted to regions with suitable conditions. We implement the model and conduct simulations by varying the level of 2 parameters of interest: QCL, the net calorie production threshold, and QNR, the targeted amount of biofuels. Within this total amount, we assume the diesel to gasoline ratio to remain constant and equal to 3 (in accordance with the EU Commission projections ) in all simulations. The benchmark situation is when both QCL and QNR, and the associated constraints, are null (not binding), which does not mean that no calorie production nor biomass production will result from the optimization program, depending on their profitability only. We then increase both targets incrementally until the model fails to be solvable. This process allows us to determine the boundaries of the feasible production set for the country, in terms of calories and biomass production, in a technically and economically realistic environment (under the initial conditions), and to explore the outcomes within this area. The analysis is prospective and does not account for potential price effects nor climate change impacts.
RESULTS As a first exercise, we determine the jointly reachable biofuel and calories targets for France, under the current economic and technical conditions as represented in the model. Our results show great potential for France agricultural sector to produce biomass for energy. The potential quantity of bio fuels ranges from 13.8 Mtoe (unconstrained optimum) up to 40 Mtoe under nonbinding food calories requirements, corresponding to the transformation of 180 Mt of agricultural biomass, in dry matter. The joint production set for the French agricultural system is presented in Figure 1 and contrasted in terms of various characteristics of the solution that was reached under each combination of simultaneous constraints. The dual values depicted in 1. (c) and 1. (d) represent the cost, in terms of loss in the total gross margin of the production system, and of the production of the additional biomass associated with the extension of the constraints. These values stem from the adjustment of the whole system, the production cost and the opportunity cost of growing biomass and/or food; we do not isolate the specific cost terms associated to this production. As cautious as we should be regarding the comparison between the shadow prices and actual prices, the dual values illustrate the extent to which each of the constraint is binding and thus the burden for the agricultural system to produce more biomass for food or energy from a certain point of production. The largest part of the production set we have determined, up to 25 Mtoe of biofuels and 60 Mtsweq appears like reasonably achievable targets to be reached in a potential equilibrium, in the current
economic and physical conditions of French agriculture, with or without prioritizing one of the 2 targets. However the dual values, notably for the biofuel constraints, grow exponentially as we go up to the frontier. Quite ambitious targets could therefore be reached on both fronts but would potentially impact food and energy prices (see dual values) and require great structural and geographical changes in the French agricultural production system. Figure 2 illustrates the changes in the area dedicated to several major activities when the production of dietary calories is constrained to increase, and for various levels of biofuel production. We can see how higher biomass requirements for biofuel exacerbate the land conversion patterns induced by an increase in calories production. Caloric requirements complicate biomass production efficiency and its potential to increase, and conversely, because both food and energy crops aim at superseding others on highly productive lands and taking up land used to produce calories inefficiently (i.e. grasslands), compensated by a substitution with other animal feed sources, namely forage and onfarm consumption of cereals. Changes in animal feed play a key role in adjusting to the land requirement of demanding constraint, freeing up space for energy and food at a lesser cost than displacing conventional crops for example, in terms of aggregate revenue loss. As such, animal activities appear as the main adjusting factor to combine food and energy production. While the amount of cereals pro duced decreases with biofuel pro duction, we can observe a spatial recomposition, cereal production 15 Be
Figure 3 - Evolution of the regional average area share dedicated to cereals (soft and durum wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, and other cereals), grasslands (permanent and temporary) and energy crops (miscanthus, switchgrass, eucalyptus, black locust, poplar, willow) when increasing the biofuel target, for a given calorie threshold QCL=65000 ktsweq.
gradually concentrating in tra ditional grain-producing areas while the cultivation of energy crops becomes more and more predominant in the west and south of the country to produce biomass more efficiently. More specifically, when the biofuel target becomes more challenging to reach, the system prioritizes 16 Be
the switching of cereals for highyield annual crops, miscanthus and switchgrass, as well as, in smaller proportions, poplar in central regions and eucalyptus in Brittany and other regions with oceanic climate, while the share of land dedicated to more remunerative energy crops (as willow and black locust) increases more slowly.
The type of assessments conducted in this work allows to outline a food & fuel production frontier in a technically and economically sound environment, although imposing quotas on the production of calories and biomass is obviously suboptimal for this system and somewhat unrealistic. If the feasible set reveals a high
production potential along the two dimensions, the implicit high prices associated with the two constraints show that this potential could only be achieved at the cost of substantial structural and spatial changes of the agricultural production system. Growing of energy crops requires a significant share of land to be diverted from food production and complicates the land allocation choices, even more so for highly productive lands, where great crop potential is found for both cereals and perennial coppices. We show in particular the emerging tension on animal production and even more on animal feed. The introduction of perennial crops in the choice set, with a
targeted level of production, pushes the system to switch from profitable activities to producing food calories more efficiently (i.e. displacing animal breeding for the main part). Note that including the effect of the intensive margin would probably enlarge this production set and yield more optimal solutions precisely because it eases the competition for land to some extent. Finally, we find that food and bioenergy production targets jointly induce significant greenhouse gases emissions re ductions. This would be mainly due to the saved methane emissions from a lesser livestock production and the introduction of perennial crops
with low fertilization requirements supplanting grasslands and conventional crops. Impact on water use and other pollution, however, should be investigated. We should also note that these estimations do not consider emissions or pollution related to the transportation of biomass and the transformation processes, but our analysis can help complement life cycle GHG emissions assessments of biofuels, which provide more complete estimates by including land use change impacts.
References available at page 51.
understanding bioprocesses Concentration
BCP gas analyzers
Heating & Stirrer Systems
CO2 O2 H2 CH4 EtOH
Tools for efficient biogas measurements
Yieldmaster 17 Be
INTEGRATING FOOD-ENERGY CROPPING SYSTEMS IN TEMPERATE CLIMATES Walter Zegada-Lizarazu, Andrea Monti Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy
Detecting adequate agronomic strategies and production potential of alternative crops and cropping systems to integrate food and energy production.
limate change and energy security are the two main challenges that are forcing governments around the world to put on the top of their agendas the search and development of renewable energy alternatives. The agricultural sector, differently for the forestry woody biomass
sector and its age-related carbon storage dynamics, is able to provide biomass feedstocks in annual basis so to contribute to the expected REDII zero emissions at the point of biomass conversion in shorts growth cycles. Then the agricultural sector is called to take action to find new
solutions capable of guaranteeing large quantities of lignocellulosic biomass, locally available, for energy production purposes in a rational and sustainable manner without negatively affecting the main role of agriculture to supply food/feed, maintain biodiversity, and reduce CO2 emissions.
Figure 1 - The dense canopy of Sunn hemp keeps the soil covered in the summer, increases the soil organic matter while producing lignocellulosic biomass.
It is, therefore, necessary to evaluate the most adequate agronomic strategies and production potential of alternative crops and cropping systems that would allow to integrate the production of food and energy without agricultural land competition issues so to ensure reliable pathways for the provision of biomass without detrimental effects on the climate and biodiversity. Across Europe cereals are the predominantly conventional cultivated crops, with wheat (Triticum sp.) planted in autumn and harvested in summer, and maize (Zea mays) planted in spring and harvested in autumn. Therefore, the soil can remain uncultivated (fallow) for months, allowing the introduction of fast growing crops in between two main crops, namely integrated foodenergy cropping systems, entailing also several environmental benefits in terms of soil cover, enhanced biodiversity, carbon neutrality, and framers’ revenue. One example of such sequential cropping system is the so-called relay planting, where a second crop is planted after the first one has completed the major part of its development (i.e. flowering stage), in that way plant interference, shading, and competition for resources are avoided / minimized. In addition, relay cropping may help to solve current problems of intensified agriculture such as controversies in species sowing time, chemical fertilizer application, and soil erosion and degradation. Relay planting renders also possible to cultivate two crops in a single growing season in areas and /or cropping systems where the growing season is too short or inadequate for two crops in sequence. If carefully planned and managed, the proposed innovative cropping systems could not only increase the system productivity and efficient use of land resources, but also
significantly improve the local feedstock availability. However, in order to be successful the selection of the second crop and its agronomic management requires careful evaluation. In fact, an important and little studied aspect of relay planting depends on the correct combinations of sowing time and method with the right species and varieties choice to avoid shading, nutrient competition, or inhibition brought about by phytotoxic compounds produced during the decomposition of the residues of a preceding crop. Moreover, relay planting represents an opportunity for incorporating N2-fixing legume crops into annual cropping systems without sacrificing grain production and enhancing biodiversity. Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.) is a promising legume crop of tropical origin that could be easily adapted
to temperate climates as a summer annual crop. Besides that, sunn hemp can improve the soil fertility through its biological N2 fixation, help control erosion, deter root-knot nematodes, and suppress weeds. In tropical areas, sunn hemp is traditionally grown as a nonwood fiber crop thanks to its high lignocllelusoic content, cultivated in rotation with rice, maize, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco and coffee. Very little information, however, is available on the performance of sunn hemp as a lignocellulosic feedstock for bioenergy purposes and on its adaptability to innovative cropping systems (e.g. relay planting) in temperate climates. The evaluation of the physiological and productive performance of legume crops like sunn hemp as a new crop could cast light on their suitability to temperate climates
Figure 2 - Sunn hemp at the flowering stage.
where the growing season is limited to cultivate two crops in sequence during the same growing season. Moreover, sunn hemp demonstrated to be adapted to no-tillage systems, thus to reduced agronomic and energetic inputs to prepare the soil (in terms of economic and CO2 equiv. ha-1 yr-1 cost, equipment, and time that should be committed) and more importantly demonstrated to be adapted to direct sowing, an important factor for the development of relay planting system. In fact, biomass yield of sunn hemp under no tillage systems are within the ranges reported in other studies under different environmental conditions and conventional management practices. Moreover, it was estimated that at the full flowering growth stage sunn hemp could fix 60 to 80 kg N2 ha-1 through root nodulation, constituting a significant N2 contribution to the following crops in rotation, thus enhancing the sustainability of the systems and the farmers’ economy. Therefore, harvesting at the right time is very important not only to
Figure 4 - Sunn hemp nitrogen-fixing nodules.
Figure 3 - Emergence of sunn hemp seedlings after direct sowing.
ensure the highest yield and the largest N2 contribution possible to the subsequent crops, but also to ensure increased soil organic matter and soil stability.
From the energy conversion technologies point of view, sunn hemp harvested between full flowering and beginning of seedpod formation are still physiologically immature crop materials, with relative high moisture (i.e. about 75% in our trials) and mineral contents (i.e. ashes) that would require further desiccation and conversion pre-treatments. Taking into account that sunn hemp is a tropical species, reaching crop senescence in temperate climates is difficult (at least with the current genetic material available). In that sense relay planting with wheat could enlarge as much as possible the growing season and therefore bring the crop to full, or close to, maturity with the beneficial effect on increased/maximized N2 contribution to the system, production of seeds (rich in oil), and reduced moisture and minerals in the lignocellulosic feedstock. In a sunn hemp – wheat relay system, cumulated lignocellulosic biomass yield (sunn hemp biomass + wheat
straw) was about 15 Mg ha-1 yr-1 which is comparable to the productivity of some high yielding perennial grasses (i.e. giant reed, miscanthus), while grain quantity and quality of wheat was maintained close to the standards of the production area. All these suggests that in temperate climates relay cropping could be a sustainable system to integrate food and dedicated biomass crops production in such a way that the local availability of dedicated lignocellulosic feedstocks is greatly enhanced, while food (wheat grain) production is not penalized. Not to mention the sustained fertility of the soil. To have a better understanding
of the factors that lead to the sunn hemp performance close to the standards reported in tropical climates, it is important to consider, besides growth and productivity, the physiological components that are determined genetically and by environmental variables. In general, all physiological parameters seem to corroborate the good growth crop processes, productivity, and therefore suitability of sunn hemp to be used as an annual summer crop in temperate climates. Information, however, is largely missing on the physiological characteristics and plastic response of sunn hemp to changes in the growing conditions, growing
season length, expected threshold responses to a combination of factors, cropping systems, etc. Overall it is possible the deve lopment of innovative food - energy cropping systems that on one hand could respond to the improved nutrient management and crop rotations obligations to be set by the CAP and, on the other, could increase biomass availability and the efficiency of land use without (or minimum) land competition issues with conventional food crops. The introduction of sunn hemp as a summer leguminous crop within a traditional crop rotation do not appear to be particularly problematic from the agronomic and/or physiological point of views.
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HOW TO TRIPLE THE BIOGAS PRODUCTION BY 2030 THROUGH SUSTAINABLE BIOMASS Jens Bo Holm-Nielsen, Center for Bioenergy and Green Engineering, Aalborg University, Denmark
The European biogas platform looks promising and expanding by 2030 and further beyond.
or biogas generation we do not need to focus any more on energy crops from croplands suitable for food and feed production. The focus should rather shift to byproducts from primary agriculture and animal manure, including deep litter bedding materials.
In the primary agriculture sector, a huge amount of straw products can be supplied as byproducts from grain production. Using straw for biogas has not been an easy task in the past, as its dryness and the presence of lignocellulose make straw a complex feedstock. But thanks to research and technology developments occurred
over the last 5-10 years, we have learned to overcome these barriers, mainly by good pretreatment routes: notably, by mechanical pretreatment, long retention time and recycling between the digestion steps. Straw adds valuable total solids and volatile solids carbon sources to the anaerobic digestion process, leading
to an increased, higher and more stable production. Another large-scale feedstock resource comes from grassland products of multiple kinds from permanent grassland areas. Based on European and FAO land use statistics on agriculture land, large areas registered as farmland are permanent grasslands of various kinds in almost all European countries. Besides being used for grazing purposes and haymaking, these areas exists to maintain good and high-quality biodiversity and ; similar regulations of these areas can be used for biogas feedstock. There is a steady but constant tendency in decreasing the number of ruminants for meat production, so anaerobic digestion for biogas production and for biorefinery routes, can be seen as a supplementary and new way to use those permanent grassland areas, and as a good alternative or supplementary source of
income locally. On this basis, our GIS mapping and studies shows that the biogas production level can be tripled by 2030 without compromising sustainability. Hence, the European biogas sectors should make use of food waste, food-processing waste and all kind of quality-ensured organic waste and byproducts. For each area and region, sustainable biomass should be mapped before new biogas projects are getting started. The sustainability and availability of cheap carbon sources should be documented and available in each region and almost everywhere, therefore such biomass resources are available in large numbers. BIOMETHANE IN THE EUROPEAN GAS GRID The European biomethane green gas distribution and gas markets are emerging rapidly over these years. The recent mapping from the European Biogas Association (EBA)
and Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) shows a remarkable growth in number of biogas upgrading facilities during the years 20182020, with installations in new EU countries each year, and it is estimated that the green gas platform can increase 10-15 times in volume by 2030. Green gas plays a very important role in the green transition of EU, to reach the COP-15 1.5 – 2.0 °C climate goals, and to create a fossil free Europe, fully developed and integrated by renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures. GREEN GAS PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE ALSO IN COMBINATION WITH WIND AND SOLAR ELECTRICITY The figure 1 by Evida, the national Danish Gas distribution company, gives a glimpse of the rapid growth of green gas. In early 2020, the share of biomethane
Figure 1 - Fast increasing amount of green gas in the gas grid in Denmark. In average during 2020 it reached 21 % biomethane (Source EVIDA).
Figure 2 - Nature Energy Biogas plant Korskro in Denmark. It is currently one of the biggest plants in Denmark and in the EU, using 710.000 tons of biomass per year (85% residues from agriculture, 15% Municipal and Industrial Residues), from almost 100 farmers and suppliers associations. It produces 22 mio. m3 green CH4 per year.
in the gas grid in Denmark was 11% on average, then in March 2021 it reached 21.5%. It is stipulated that by 2040 green gas will take over the full gas grid capacity. BIOGAS-CO2 FOR METHANISATION AND PTX WITH WIND AND SOLAR SCALE-UP CASES Biogas is moving fast for the integration in the European gas grid, notably for the methane part. 24 Be
Large-scale industrial use, strong gas grid infrastructure, large-scale renewable energy systems as well as the integration with electrifications of society is on the agenda for 2030 and beyond. However, we need to address and get full use of CO2, which is approximately the 40%. of biogas. CO2 can be used directly for methanisation, to get a higher production of methane during the anaerobic digestion process.
Another route of CO2 use consists in the upgrading and separation process to clean the CO2 to obtain industrial green CO2. One case example is established at full scale at the Nature Energy Biogas plant “Korskro” nearby Esbjerg, Denmark. Approximately 1/3 of all industrial CO2 utilized in Denmark has its origin from this biogas plant. In the European hydrogen context, CO2 gas cleaning and upgrading
has a much wider purpose. In this decade, project by project new electrolyzing capacities from large scale solar and wind farms are being installed. Large scale offshore wind farm systems in the North Sea region are established, and power-to-X (PtX) on artificial islands projects are in the pipeline. In conjunction with the large scale solar and wind installations, the biogas and green gas infrastructure comes in as one of the best options for producing methane, methanol and other electrofuels for the transport sectors: shipping, trucking and aviation need large quantities of concentrated liquid fuels, where these PtX solutions are part of the equations and forecasts. Several projects in the PtX context are under testing and scaling up phases in Europe.
Figure 3 - Loading of lignocellulosic feedstock at Nature Energy biogas plant.
Finally, there is a healthy com petition for moving our societies towards a further CO2 reduction, into a green era of decarbonization
and a more climate acceptable future, but much remains to be done in the next one to three decades.
FNR | Agency for Renewable Resources: Supporting partner in R&D project funding, information and public relations The Agency for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V., FNR) was founded in 1993 as a government initiative to support research and development projects in the area of renewable resources. As a project management organisation of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), FNR supervises BMEL‘s funding programme ‘Renewable Resources’. FNR also manages measures within the Energy and Climate Fund. These include the Forest Climate Funds for the Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change supported by BMEL and the Federal Ministry for Environment (BMU).
International activities in both bioenergy and bioeconomy sectors are covered by the Department for EU and International collaborations. In this context, FNR is involved in panel work, e.g. IEA Bioenergy, IEA AMF TCP, GBEP. Further, FNR provides information about renewable resources at trade fairs, exhibitions and is represented in social media: Follow FNR on e.g. Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For further information, visit our websites www.fnr.de or international.fnr.de and get in touch with us - also here at EUBCE.
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HYDROGEN FROM BIOMASS: CHALLENGES AND PERSPECTIVES Marco Buffi, Matteo Prussi, Nicolae Scarlat, JRC, Directorate C - Energy, Transport and Climate Energy Efficiency and Renewables
Hydrogen from biomass sources is a ready alternative to integrate the production of renewable hydrogen in the coming years.
ydrogen is one of the main pillars of the Europe’s decarbonization strategy for the next years, offering a clean solution for mobility, power generation and industry. There are several available sustainable production options and there is still uncertainty about which is the most effective pathway for hydrogen. The larger part of 26 Be
the current production is mainly divided in three categories, which are commonly referred to as grey, blue and green hydrogen. While the first two classifications derive from natural gas (varying from the presence or not of carbon capture and storage strategies), the third one is produced from renewables energies, excluding biomass.
A fourth type of hydrogen can be produced from the gasification of coal and is referred to as brown or black hydrogen, depending on the grade of coal being used. The “colours” of hydrogen (associated to the primary feedstock adopted for its production) are not sufficient to define its sustainability, and each production route has to be properly addressed according to
materials and energy requirements, environmental impact and the current technology readiness level (TRL). We could therefore consider another category, consisting in the hydrogen from biomass, which has currently no colours associated with; this is generally also called “bio-hydrogen”. However, this name is often associated only to the hydrogen produced from steam biomethane reforming, but among the various biomass to hydrogen pathways there are also gasification, biologic processes and others, thus this category will be simply named “hydrogen from biomass”. THE EU HYDROGEN STRATEGY From a legislative point of view, when renewable hydrogen is used as energy vector in the European context, the producers have to comply with the existing provisions, as defined in the recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and its associated delegated acts. By analogy with other alternative fuels, all the imports of hydrogen will also have to result aligned with European provisions, regardless of other standards. In order to boost the sector, the European Commission on 8 July 2020 adopted a new hydrogen strategy with the communication ‘A hydrogen strategy for a climateneutral Europe’ . This strategy is part of the European Green Deal  for the climateneutrality by 2050, which sets concrete targets for GHGs emissions reduction. The main pillar of this strategy is the promotion of green hydrogen production and the expected targets are the installation of at least 6 GW of electrolysers powered by renewables in the EU by 2024, and 40 GW by 2030. In addition, the “Next Generation EU” recovery fund of EUR 750 billion  will adopt over one third of this finance for this scope, thus it will
be expected an immediate market uptake of the current production technologies. It is worth noticing that electrolysers should be powered by renewable electricity that require large, efficient and clean infrastructures, and hence major investments, and a particular attention to GHGs emissions associated to its production and distribution. In addition, a stable hydrogen supply should not be only dependent by those energy sources notcontinuously available such as solar and wind, but it should be integrated with stable production pathways that today are still powered by fossil fuels. SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES Regarding sustainability aspects, according to RED II the so-called “green hydrogen” is defined as “renewable fuel of non-biological origin” and must meet the 70% thresholds for minimum GHG emission savings. Therefore, a low-carbon hydrogen definition, tracking and tracing mechanisms are required to demonstrate compliance with the above-mentioned targets within a Delegated Act (due to 2021) for assessing greenhouse gas emissions savings from renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin and from recycled carbon fuels. Here the additionality concept applied to the environmental assessment has to be defined: it implies that the reduction in the GHG emissions happen only as a result of the new project, or rather new renewable electricity plants built for the purpose of hydrogen production. Both green hydrogen and hydrogen from biomass are part of the 14% target of RED II as minimum share of renewables in the overall energy consumption of the transport sector, but the only hydrogen produced from biomass sources contributes to the overall renewable
energy target. In the case hydrogen is produced with an initial feedstock listed in Part A of Annex IX, it can be considered as advanced biofuel, subject to the double counting. Therefore, hydrogen from biomass sources is a ready alternative to integrate the production of renewable hydrogen in the coming years. BIOMASS-TO-HYDROGEN CONVERSION PATHWAYS In this phase, it becomes of primary importance to address technoenvironmental issues related to biomass conversion, since hydrogen is not directly available in its pure form but bound into the biomass chemical structure. High energy expenditure is needed to separate it from the other atoms, and complex conversion steps have to be considered in the whole supply chain. Hence, the environmental and energy performances of hydrogen energy systems strongly depend on the hydrogen donor and the energy sources needed by the conversion process. As first division, biomass-tohydrogen processes can be distinguished in two different categories: • thermochemical pathways in cluding pyrolysis, liquefaction, and gasification; • biological pathways including water–gas shift reactions pro moted by micro-organisms, photo- fermentation and dark- fermentation, anaerobic digestion and biomethane upgrading, and bio-photolysis such as microbial electrolysis cell. Among these pathways, only few of them can be potentially integrated into an existing value chain fully dedicated to the commercial production. For instance, anaerobic digestion of agro-residues for biogas production is already used for biomethane production at commercial level, but rarely (or 27 Be
H2 3rd level Biomass
Figure 1 - Biomass to hydrogen production pathways at different conversion levels.
only at experimental level) biogas is further converted to hydrogen. On the other hand, the steam methane reforming is a full commercial technology largely adopted for the current hydrogen production. Thus, economic and technical barriers still exist, and the absence of a consolidated market is limiting the promotion of new value chains. Except pyrolysis, gasification and anaerobic digestion, all the other conversion pathways are still at low TRL, but creating synergies with other sector (such as the fossil fuel sector), they can largely grow in a short time. For this propose, a potential classification of the whole biomass-to-hydrogen conversion steps can be divided in three different levels as shown in Figure 1. Starting from pure biomass sources 28 Be
or residues, a potential 1st level of conversion consists in those processes aimed to pre-treat or upgrade the feedstock before the main conversion processes (i.e. 2nd level of conversion). By means of these processes, biomass can be converted into bio-intermediates such as fast pyrolysis oil, HTL oils, lignin and/or sugars, that are easier to be further converted to hydrogen gaseous precursors. • First level of conversion is also aimed to densify biomass and make it more similar to fossilderived feedstocks, to be suitable for those processes deriving from coal/oil processing (e.g. entrained flow gasification). • At the second level of conversion there are those processes that
can be fed by both pure biomass and bio-intermediates, but differently than the conventional value chains for bioenergy and biofuel production, they require an additional conversion step to hydrogen production. Finally, the third level conversion step, which is the gas upgrading section, consists in those thermochemical processes such as methane reforming, gasshift and synthesis for hydrogen separation and purification. Combining the TRLs of each conversion step to build a hydrogen-based value chain, just two production pathways (i.e. biomass gasification and gas upgrading section; steam biomethane reforming from anaerobic digestion) are currently ready to be used at commercial level, while the others need further assessment before the technology scale up to a potential market uptake.
ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCES Once the conversion pathways are established, it is of utmost importance to evaluate the energy and environmental performances of each route. For this purpose, this article recaps the findings reported in our upcoming review on biomass-to-hydrogen production pathways , focusing on energy and environmental issues. From the studies available in literature on GHGs assessments, we selected five biomass-to-conversion pathways that have been investigated in detail and can be potentially adopted at commercial level (as shows in Figure 2): wood gasification and gas upgrading (GASIF) and biogas production and steam biomethane reforming (SR-BG), are already consolidated pathways for the maturity of the technologies; steam reforming of gasified biointermediates (SR-IT) such as bio-oil or glycerol, are limited for economic
costs; other biological processes (FERM, i.e. bio-hydrogen from darkor light-fermentation, and MEC, i.e. microbial electrolysis cells) are promising but still at low TRL, and require large infrastructures for very limited productions. The method used to perform the analysis is the life cycle assessment (LCA), that is a well-established methodology for the comprehensive evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of product systems. Among the relatively high number of LCA studies on hydrogen available in the scientific literature, the present analysis selected a number of 35 peer-reviewed papers reporting detailed environmental assessments of biomass to hydrogen routes. Figure 2 shows the averaged values of the calculated carbon footprints (including the lower and the upper figures) per mass unit of hydrogen produced, divided per production pathway. In addition, the carbon footprint (in orange) of steam methane reforming (SMR) of natural gas is reported as benchmark value. It is noteworthy to point out that each averaged value (dark green bars) is within or below the NG SMR line, showing the environmental benefit of using biomass instead of natural gas as initial feedstock. In addition,
the lower limits representing the most optimistic studies showed how GHGs emissions can be reduced at very low level, generally considering renewable energy input for biomass processing, carbon credits due to biomass cultivation and optimistic conversion yields. Despite international standardisation of ISO 14040  and the availability of both general and specific LCA guidance documents produced by EC JRC , each selected study follows its own methodological choices. This strongly affects the results of calculated GHGs emissions and its final interpretation, leading to a wide range of values for each pathway. Furthermore, the differences in system boundaries, functional units, allocation approach and other technical parameters introduce uncertainties for robust comparison of results from different studies. Harmonization protocols might be applied to reduce some gaps of results, as well as confirm the validity of a branch of methodologies instead of the others here evaluated. CONCLUSIONS The scope of this article is to remark how hydrogen produced from biomass already exhibits a good technology maturity with a
favourable environmental impact. The upcoming EU strategy promoting the growth of the hydrogen market will make available large amounts of funding for the immediate market uptake of the existing technologies. Beside green hydrogen production, current available technologies for hydrogen production from biomass can be potentially integrated in a biorefinery concept. Limits and barriers related to economic aspects of novel technologies (e.g. fermentation, MEC) need further assessment, and largescale generation is recommended only for thermochemical routes, while biological processes are most appropriate for small scale production due to the simultaneous generation of hydrogen and waste and residues recycling. The views expressed here are purely those of the authors and may not, under any circumstances, be regarded as an official position of the European Commission.
References available at page 51.
Figure 2 - Carbon footprints of five selected biomass-to-hydrogen production pathways : wood gasification and gas upgrading (GASIF); biogas production and steam biomethane reforming (SR-BG); steam reforming of gasified bio-intermediates (SR-IT); dark- or light-fermentation (FERM); microbial electrolysis cells (MEC). Dark green bars represent the averaged values among the calculated footprints available in literature, while the light green bars are the upper and lower limits among the selected figures. In orange, the range of the calculated carbon footprints of the natural gas steam methane reforming (NG SMR) as benchmark zone.
ALGAE TO KEROSENE: THE GREEN WAKE Matteo Prussi, Nicolae Scarlat, JRC, Directorate C - Energy, Transport and Climate Energy Efficiency and Renewables
Among HEFA routes, producing jet fuels from algae looks promising for setting the path towards a more environmental friendly aviation.
ccording to the evaluation before the COVID pandemic, the international civil aviation was consuming 160 megatons (Mt) of fuel, and emitting approximately the 2.6% of total GHG emissions from fossil
fuel combustion . According to projections, by 2045 the fuel consumption is expected to increase from 2.2 to 3.1 times compared to 2015 . Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the sector, aviation keeps
considering the environmental impact mitigation as a pillar for its development. Some initiatives are already in place, at international level, such as the global CO2 standards regulating the fuel efficiency for new aircrafts from 2020 .
Figure 1 - Green energy aircraft, an EADS Diamond DA42, powered by algae biofuel on the runway. Farnborough Airshow, Hampshire, UK. July 24, 2010. @shutterstock/Steve Mann.
ALTERNATIVE FUELS FOR AVIATION To define a proper strategy towards decarbonisation, in 2016 the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly agreed on the adoption of a global market-based scheme to tackle international aviation GHG emissions: the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) . CORSIA requires airline operators to offset GHG emissions, expressed in CO2 equivalent, with respect to a baseline set for 2019. There are several ways in which an operator can offset its emissions, and the use of alternative fuels is considered fundamental to achieve a carbon neutral growth. A new Long Term Aspiration Goal is under development, at ICAO level , to allow setting the path towards a more environmental friendly aviation. In spite of the interest in Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) as a suitable solution to achieve decarbonisation in the short- to medium-term, their current penetration is very low. According to Chiaramonti et
al. , under the current policy framework, aviation is not expected to be supplied with a significant amount of biofuels in 2030. At European level, an important initiative is promoted by the European Commission: the REfuel EU Aviation . This initiative aims to boost the supply and demand for sustainable aviation fuels in the EU, to reduce European aviation’s environmental footprint and enable its contribution to the EU’s climate goals. As of today, 8 alternative fuel production pathways have been certified by ASTM for commercial flights. Among the approved technologies, co-processing and Hydroprocessed Fatty Acid Esters and Free Fatty Acid (HEFA) are certainly the most mature. In HEFA, lipid feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, used cooking oils, tallow, etc. are converted into green diesel using Hydrogen. Green diesel can be further isomerized and separated to obtain a jet fraction. The pathway was approved in 2011 to be blended at 50% present with fossil jet fuel. Europe has already
an interesting installed capacity for HEFA , with an upper technical limit of approximately 2.4 Mt/yr. As lipid feedstocks are already used for road alternative fuel production, and also meet the interest of the maritime sector, the investigation of alternatives is crucial to achieve a real deployment of SAF. Recently, ASTM approved the HEFA route from algae . Micro and macro algae are feedstocks which have been largely studied for biofuels. Yang et al.  investigated four main pathways to produce jet fuels from algae, concluding about the maturity of HEFA technology, and highlighting that high lipid content in algae is required to run the process economically. Production costs are usually identified as the main bottleneck for large-scale deployment of algae to fuel plant, however an economic analysis based on large scale plants is still missing, and the potential of this crop is not yet fully investigated. It is worth remarking that in terms of productivity, algae can deliver 10 t/ha per year, under a conservative estimation, and a significant amount
Aviation Alternative Fuel
Figure 2 - Process schematic, and the system boundary of the core LCA.
Figure 3 - Comparison on emission from various alternative fuels options, for the aviation sector.
of proteins, which is remarkable also when compared with effective cultivation such as palm. Other relevant advantages of algae productions is their capability of being grown on non-arable land and fed with salty water. Additionally, the rate of nutrients uptake is really high, when compared to standard agriculture. Finally, algae have to be considered as an effective way to biologically fix CO2 from air, and at the current stage of knowledge, this is an interesting possibility, as other “air-capture” options are costly and highly energy demanding . In 2019, IHI  with NEDO developed a process based on an special strain of Botryococcus braunii (Hyper-Growth Botryo coccus Braunii (HGBb)) claimed of being able to reach an oil content above 50% on dry basis, rich in hydrocarbons. This algae has been investigated by many authors, among others Ranga Rao et al , which confirmed the high lipids and hydro-carbon accumulation potential. NEDO claimed to have 32 Be
developed a low energy harvesting process, with open air drying and nutrient recycling. IHI Corporation runs a 1.5 ha pilot plant in Thailand, and the resulting synthesized paraffinic kerosene was approved ASTM D7566 in 2020 through the fast track process, as a 10% blend . The GHG saving potential for algae to kerosene pathways has been evaluated by the DoE-ANL: their study reported a potential life-cycle energy consumption reduction by 55% and carbon emission by 45% . EC-JRC, which co-leads the Core-LCA of the CORSIA Fuel Task group, estimated the current emissions associated with algaeto kerosene pathways. Even if it is worth remarking that this exercise has been performed out of the FTG work, the CORSIA LCA methodology has been used as guideline. MODELLING AN ALGAE TO KEROSENE PATHWAY In order to estimate the potential GHG saving of the algae to
kerosene pathway, a processbased attributional LCA approach  was designed, accounting for mass and energy flows, along the whole fuel supply chain. Data have been gathered from the available literature. The proposed algae-to-kerosene 1ha plant is constituted by an inoculum production stage, followed by the ponds for massive cultivation. Once ready, the cultivation batch is harvested and pumped to downstream processes. Bioflocculation and sun drying have been considered to obtain pumpable algae wet paste. A cell disruption stage is followed by a first phase separation, where to collect the oil, and the water phase for nutrients recycle. The solid phase is processed in a solvent extraction plant, to recover additional oil and the protein cake. The oil is then converted to HEFA bio-kerosene, while the cake is used to recover energy and nutrient for the process.
As average biomass productivity and oil contest are related to many factors (e.g. cultivation strategy, nutrient management, wheatear conditions, etc.), three cases and two scenarios for energy inputs have been considered. The average yields range between 8.5 g/m²d (28 t/yr ha) and 14.1 g/ m²d (42 t/yr ha) and the respective average oil content between 50% of 30%. Two scenarios have been defined for the energy input. In the first one, the emission factor per kWhel is based on the European 2020 electric mix . In the second one, the electrical need is supplied by dedicated wind and solar plant. ESTIMATING THE GHG SAVING POTENTIAL The GHG emissions range between 72.3 CO2e/MJ, for the base case, and
31.8 CO2 e /MJ in the best scenario with renewables supplying energy demand. These values correspond to a saving of 19-68% in GHG emissions, with respect to fossil kerosene (estimated level at 89 CO2e/MJ). In terms of contribution to the final MJ of fuel, fertilisers and energy input for RWPs are the major items. Likewise for other crop based alternative fuels, the cultivation phase is significant. As the modelled plant targets the aviation fuel market, it is worth comparing the results with the default values proposed in the ICAO/CORSIA documentation . In CORSIA, the emission levels for HEFA alternative fuels are estimated at13.9 CO2e/MJ for Used Cooking Oil and 47.4 CO2e/MJ for rapeseed oil, produced in Europe.
CONCLUSIONS The best case scenario shows a 68% GHG emission saving in comparison to the reference fossilbased kerosene. If compared with the GHG saving potential of kerosene from other traditional bio-based feedstocks, the results confirm algae tobe an interesting alternative. In order to achieve relevant savings, appropriate conditions for their cultivation have to be adopted, such as high process optimisation, nutrient recycling and use of renewable energy to meet input demand. The views expressed here are purely those of the authors and may not, under any circumstances, be regarded as an official position of the European Commission. References available at page 51.
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A MANDATORY MARKET FOR SAF CLOSER THAN EVER Karlijn Arts, SkyNRG, The Netherlands
There is momentum to raise the ambitions to the decarbonize the aviation, feedstock availability and a robust policy framework are needed to scale up SAF production.
ven though the use of SAF grew the last couple of years, the global production is still far from the levels expected of it to be in 2021. Currently, SAF constitutes an estimated 0.05% of all aviation fuel used. To reach the sector’s established climate
targets in 2030 and beyond, such as the carbon neutral growth trajectory set by CORSIA or pleas for reaching carbon neutrality around mid-century, there is a need for a significant scale-up of the availability and adoption of SAF as aviation’s conventional fuel.
One of the challenges for the SAF sector is the need for a robust policy framework that enables the aviation industry to look beyond the price gap between fossil and sustainable aviation fuel. To provide this policy direction various Member States have already
put forward national SAF strategies, making it timely that in 2020 the European Commission initiated the ReFuelEU Aviation initiative under the flag of the EU Green Deal. This initiative is developing a policy framework aimed at the introduction of an EU-wide SAF mandate, which has the potential of kick-starting the SAF industry in Europe. In the upcoming months, a first proposal on the SAF mandate is expected to be communicated by the Commission. Some of the key design elements of
a SAF blending mandate are listed below, including the following considerations. OBLIGATED PARTY The EU blend mandate will likely be set on the fuel suppliers. This means that fuel suppliers delivering to EU countries, will have to blend a certain percentage of SAF with fossil jet fuel. This will likely result in an overall increase in the price per unit of jet fuel tanked in Europe, as SAF is currently more expensive compared to fossil jet fuel.
TARGET TYPE The mandate will likely be based on fuel volumes (X amount of SAF should be blended with fossil kerosene). Another option could have been to introduce CO2 targets, achieved by setting an average GHG intensity of the blended fuels, as proposed in Sweden’s national mandate. However, it is expected that a volume-based mandate will be a better fit with existing legislation such as the policy systems currently in place for the road sector. It is also expected that GHG
Figure 1 - SAF mandate overview for Europe. The overview is based on public announcements.
thresholds will be applied to SAF eligible for the mandate, following existing RED II requirements. TRAJECTORY The expected intermediate blend target for 2025 will be set at 2%, and at 5% in 2030. Currently, the European aviation industry and European Commission are considering a SAF blend target of around 60% for 2050. Although this latter target may seem ambitious, this means that planes will still (partially) be flying on fossil kerosene in 2050, which most likely will not be enough to stay within the planet’s 2050 carbon budget. SCOPE As the fuel supplier is the obligated party in the mandate, this will likely cover all the volumes fueled in the EU. Placing the mandate, for example, on the amount of kerosene fueled for intra-EU flights only, would then be more challenging in practice and less ambitious from a sustainability point of view.
SUB-TARGETS Some SAF pathways with a lower Technology Readiness Level will likely receive a ‘sub-obligation’. It is expected that the Power-to- Liquid (also known as e-fuels or synthetic fuels) SAF will receive a sub-target. Hopefully, other SAF pathways such as the Alcohol-to- Jet pathway can count on support. The development of these technology pathways are crucial for the sustainable growth of the sector. A (higher) cost of noncompliance per SAF technology pathways, a parallel Contracts-forDifference system, and/or various sub-targets should be considered. SUSTAINABILITY The sustainability framework of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II will likely function as the basis for the SAF blend mandate. Regarding GHG thresholds, this means that fuels with GHG savings of at least 50% (for production facilities built before October 2015) or above will be eligible for use under the mandate. Regarding wider sustainability considerations,
some additions may be expected. For example, the full exclusion of the use of (parts of the) crops grown exclusively for food and/or feed purposes. R&D SUPPORT It is crucial that SAF technology pathways that are currently unable to reach commercial scale are provided with additional R&D support. With more SAF technology path ways in place, we can unlock the potential to use different types of feedstock, eventually leading to a broad and diversified sustainable feedstock portfolio that can be used by the industry for the incremental scale-up of the industry. The challenge is enormous but crucial if the (European) aviation sector wants to meet its climate targets. Two factors are crucial for the successful deployment of the mandate and the ambitious rampup of the industry. The first one is feedstock availability. It is expected that the aviation sector’s focus
Figure 2 - Possible EU SAF mandate growth pathway (simplified). Shares are calculated as a share of a constant EU jet fuel demand of 60 million tonnes between 2020-2050.
need to be built in order to produce enough SAF to fulfill the demand emerging from the obligation. Therefore, the time, energy and manpower constraints to retrofit and build these facilities need to be considered. This should also be noted, as a limiting factor for the European SAF ramp-up potential.
Besides this potential limitation, it is important to realize that this industry is practically starting from zero when it comes to the SAF volumes currently produced. In this sense, existing refineries need to be retrofitted to become suitable for SAF production and new facilities
The lower the demand for fossil kerosene, the easier we can replace all fossil kerosene with SAF (in the long term), the less challenging these two elements mentioned above will become. Additionally, flying less or developing electrical/ hydrogen planes or hyperloops
to cover relative short distances, will contribute to the ability of the aviation sector to reach carbon neutrality sooner and easier. All things considered, the momen tum is already there to sharpen our ambitions and take drastic actions to achieve fossil carbon neutrality for aviation. A separate policy system for aviation, in the form of a mandate, will ensure the growth of the SAF market. Yet, to succeed we need to map and thoroughly understand the crucial conditions under which we can ensure an actual sustainable ramp-up of these alternative fuels.
has to be on waste and residue streams or on cover crops, direct air capture (DAC) or other sustainable alternatives. Due to this limitation, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the economy of scale of these feedstock before determining their potential and ramp-up rate for the SAF industry.
HYDROTHERMAL LIQUEFACTION IN THE GREEN ENERGY TRANSITION Giulio Italo Rodio, ETA Florence Renewable Energies, Italy
HTL is a fast-developing technology that can provide multiple advantages for the circular economy. A recent event explored both the status of the technology and the perspectives of different end users.
he European Green New Deal is pushing for the pursuit of novel technologies that are able to reverse the fossil fuel-based paradigm funded on a linear economy by shifting towards a circular economy sustained by renewable energy sources. In this context, Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL), a thermochemical conversion approach for the production of advanced biofuels, is an emerging and promising technology in the currently Research & Development
(R&D) phase; in recent years, it has been attracting the interest of the industry which has high stakes in decarbonizing its operations. The interest in HTL is surging due to its feedstock flexibility which can unlock the use of biogenic urban residuals such as sewage sludge. The main obstacle concerning the reutilization of sewage sludge is caused by its high-water content and complex mixture of multiple compounds. The valorization of wet sewage sludge into valuable and
Biocrude obtained from Steeper Energy proprietary Hydrofaction technology.
useful products has the potential of augmenting energy production and to tackle disposal and waste management issues. However, the wet characteristics of this feedstock are not particularly well suited for several available thermochemical conversion processes (e.g., fast pyrolysis, gasification, and incineration) requiring a dry intake. In contrast, HTL does not only tolerate but also appreciate high water content feedstock, which clearly convey the additional value of this technology.
The advantages of HTL for the circular bioeconomy Embedded into HTL there are other advantages that can potentially offset stable industrial symbiosis scenarios where the waste produced in an industry is used as a source into another, strengthening the entire value chain. In fact, wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and the urban biogenic waste management sector can find in HTL a solution to retain value from their disposals. In order to access this market, one of the main challenges for HTL technology is proving that it can compete with already mature and established technologies such as Anaerobic Digestion (AD). A crucial competitive advantage of HTL over AD lies in the size and location of the plant. Thanks to the reduced dimensions of the plant, HTL features the possibility of being installed in urban and semi-urban settings in proximity, for instance, to a WWTP. A further benefit that arises from the HTL process is the possibility to recover nutrients from the
feedstock, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, that could be potentially reused in a wide spectrum of applications ranging from fertilizers to cosmetics and electronics. The combination of the abovementioned elements of HTL matches with the circular bioeconomy principles by simultaneously delivering an energy carrier as biocrude, goods as phosphorus and services as acting as a disposal facility for the waste management sector. The coupling of industrial symbiosis concepts and bioeconomy paradigms are in line with the long-term vision of the European Union of becoming the first climateneutral continent by 2050. STATE OF THE ART OF HTL IN 2021 In order to have an overview of the state of the art of HTL and to understand the standpoints of the stakeholders involved in the technology value chain, a virtual workshop was organized on the 28th of January 2021 by the consortium of NextGenRoadFuels, a Horizon
2020 project developing sustainable drop-in transport fuels from HTL of low value urban feedstocks. In this event, existing pilot projects and initiatives both at EU and international level were displayed. The perspectives of developers and technology users and developers was in regard to the technology scale up exploration, together with the policy outlook and the market uptake. The first analysis on go-to-market possibilities showed that the timeframe for the introduction of the technology into the market is shortening as more interest and leverage from the stakeholders of the full value chain is increasing. However, demo-scale projects are required to prove the competitiveness of HTL in comparison with other established technologies The European Union is at the forefront of demonstrating the feasibility and the capacities of HTL with several R&D H2020 projects running demo and lab-scale plants and cutting-edge innovative improvements.
Figure 1 - Biocrude obtained from HTL of low value urban biowaste can be upgraded to advanced biofuels. (Illustration by Michael Perkins | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory).
Figure 2 - The HTL plant at the Pacific NorthWest National Laboratory (US) has recently converted biocrude to renewable diesel operating for more than 2,000 hours continuously. Photo: PNNL
The NextGenRoadFuels project has recently achieved the production of 100kg of high-quality bio crude from urban waste, mostly sewage sludge, finding the optimum balance with inorganics and water content. During the pre-treatment process, protein extraction was accomplished, even if costly, and constant yields of phosphorous recovery were achieved. Other two relevant European projects, HyFlexFuel & Waste2Road, are demonstrating the compatibility of HTL-based fuels production with a diverse biomass feedstock portfolio. The 4refinery project, on the other hand, is testing the integration of the bio crude generated by HTL into the existing refinery process. Last March, LowCarbFuels, a new project gathering leading European and Danish organizations, was launched in Denmark to produce and commercialize sustainable aviation and marine fuels using HTL as the basic technology. 40 Be
The promising technology is being developed all across the world. An Australian company based in Sydney, Licella Holdings, has developed the Cat-HTRTM platform and claims to be ready to build the world’s first commercialscale HTL plant. In India, the Reliance Industries Limited, is demonstrating the robustness at scale of HTL plants to reduce the risks and proceed to commercialization. In the USA, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently announced a major milestone: a large-scale demonstration plant converting biocrude to renewable diesel fuel has operated for more than 2000 hours continuously without losing effectiveness. In the latter, the HTL’s biocrude is moved into the hydrotreating operation that introduces hydrogen into a catalytic process that removes sulfur and nitrogen contaminants found in biocrude, producing a
combustible end-product of longchain alkanes, the desirable fuel used in internal combustion engines (ICE). Steeper Energy is a leading company in the field of advanced biofuels operating in Norway and Canada. The firm has found in Silva Green Fuel licensed Hydrofaction® the preferred way to achieve commercial viability through the use of forestry residues and is poised to enter the urban biogenic waste management market segment leveraging the forestry know-how and efforts. END USERS’ PERSPECTIVE This series of R&D projects is thus showing important and concreate results. Multiple end users are involved in the front end of the value chain of HTL. A panel discussion at the virtual workshop highlighted the ways end users are perceiving the attributes of the technology. In particular, Niras, GoodFuels, Concawe and Parkland Refining
were called to share their end user standpoint as representatives of their respective industry. The wastewater management industry is evaluating the very high potential of HTL that, thanks to its process design, can be fed with multiple wet streams and it can be installed in close proximity with the WWTP reducing the logistics expenditures. The marine industry sees HTL as a breakthrough to meet sustainability, scalability, and affordability goals in transportation fuel and confirmed its readiness to test the product once consistent quality is ensured and enough quantities are delivered. The refineries viewpoint underlined the requirement of an oftenunderestimated aspect: handling and storage. In fact, these two aspects need to be addressed to be effective on a large scale, as acquainting with the specifics of new feedstocks is
a lengthy procedure. Moreover, also consistency in volumes is to be reached for a complete evaluation. Even though HTL can be integrated in the refinery sector through different routes, such as centralized and decentralized paths and regional settings, cross sectorial cooperation is crucial in order to include the entire value chain. WHAT TO EXPECT: FURTHER AND LARGER DEMONSTRATION IS NEEDED HTL is proving to be a highly promising and rapidly developing technology. However, there are still technological hurdles to overcome, for which it is important that R&D&I efforts are maintained. In particular, the focus must be placed on demonstrating the technology at a scale compatible with industrial use obtaining
constant volumes of biocrudes of larger magnitude. Even if the projects are demonstrating concrete results and market uptake is becoming within reach highlighting the gained momentum of the technology, the HTL value chain as whole has still to make efforts into refining the technology to provide it with constant and continuous sustainable outcomes. This will allow HTL technology to make an important contribution to the achievement of a circular bioeconomy model as called for by the Green Deal objectives. Slides and recordings of the event can be found at nextgenroadfuels.eu This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 818413
*Sustainable Aviation fuels
USHERING AN ERA OF BIO-MOBILITYTM IN INDIA Shishir Joshipura, CEO & Managing Director, Praj Industries Ltd, India
Being an economic, social, and environmental enabler, biofuels have the potential to make definitive contribution in ushering sustainable decarbonization through a circular bio-economy.
obility refers to the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. While transportation was the word used for getting people from point A to B, mobility is currently the term being adopted by policymakers and governments to describe the movement of people that is cheap, efficient, and most importantly sustainable. According to a report by the Centre for Automotive Research, “Mobility is a user-centric concept — recognizing 42 Be
that transportation products and services must be responsive to the needs, habits, and preferences of travelers and society.” This shift from usage of terms, from transportation to mobility is due to a variety of reasons. Rapid urbanization, pollution, and congestion are just a few of the push forces that have prompted this wave of innovation in transportation. New mobility services are contributing to a mobility evolution. Worldwide, this gradual change will nudge
transportation players, automotive manufacturers in particular, to move from the traditional means to more modern means to maintain their market position. THE EVOLVING ENERGY LANDSCAPE IN INDIA Our dependence on fossil fuels is creating a world-wide turmoil in regards to the sustainability of the human race. Fossils are the primary source of energy and resources, and this is having a detrimental
effect on our planet. As a result, we are witnessing major geopolitical issues and energy security concerns due to the scarcity of our finite resources. India is a leading consumer of fossil fuels due to its population size. We as humans need to acknowledge the worry-some issue that our way of life revolves primarily around the exploitation of fossil fuels. India has been seeing rapid indu strialization as one of the world's fastest growing economies. The migration of people from villages to cities for employment and education opportunities, coupled with rapid industrialization and urbanization, have put a strain on the country's ever-growing energy needs. All this has contributed in making India the world's third largest primary energy consumer. The country's energy mix today is dominated by conventional sources, mainly derived from fossil fuels. India is dependent on external resources, importing 80 percent of crude oil, while incurring high foreign expenditure. MOBILITY CHALLENGES IN INDIA Transportation fuel is a large part of our total energy consumption. These fuels namely petrol and diesel come from the mineral source and are highly polluting in nature. However, in the absence of easily accessible alternatives, the world has been inclined to use it liberally over the years. The 60% increase in consumption of fossil fuels in the last three decades in India, as compared to the previous two decades is proof of this. The foreign exchange payout towards these imports in financial year 20192020 was three times our Defence outlay and 1.75 times the provision for annual interest payment on debt. From the geo-political perspective too, this scenario can prove perilous since India relies on the Gulf and
West Asian countries for 65% of the imports of fuel. In light of the political instability in this region, we might face severe irregularities in supply. We need to strongly adopt the idea of relying on an alternate source for our resources and energy. This is the need of the hour and this is the way forward for the Indian economy.
renewable/bio diesel, renewable biogas, Bio-methanol, Biohydrogen, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and Marine biofuel as primary energy source for driving mobility while retaining basic ICE technology. The conversion of biomass to biofuels can be achieved primarily via biochemical and thermochemical processes.
SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR MOBILITY CHALLENGES The issue of finding sustainable alternatives to conventional fuel sources was underlined when fuel prices went through the roof in the 70s. After some lull it picked up again at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 when concrete goals were set towards environment protection. However, the problem of environmental pollution continued unbridled over years until 2015, when the issue was brought to the table at the United Nations led Paris Convention. The prime goal set during this meet was to bring down carbon emissions all over the world as early as possible and to keep the global temperature rise less than 2 degrees celcius. Country wise goals were determined. India accepted the ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ of reducing carbon emissions by 33 to 35% and to create green cover adequate to absorb 2.5 to 3 crore tons of carbon dioxide, by the year 2030.
BENEFITS OF BIO-MOBILITY In terms of economy, Biofuels helps reduce the country’s high import bill and foreign exchange payout for crude oil. To that extent, it also helps mitigate spikes in volatile crude oil pricing.
WHAT IS BIO-MOBILITY ? Bio-mobility refers to utilizing captive renewable biological resources such as feedstock to produce carbon neutral transportation fuel that can be used across all modes of mobility namely, land, air and water. BioMobility platform envisages utilization of Agri residues and organic waste derived both gaseous and liquid bio fuels in the form of 1st generation Bioethanol, 2nd Generation cellulosic biofuels,
AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL ENABLER Climate change is affecting monsoon patterns, and consequently, the agriculture economy. Uninhibited industrialization is having a detrimental impact on ecological balance. Increasing traffic and associated rise in pollution levels, and the burning of agricultural waste are adversely affecting air quality and is a health hazard. Biofuels are carbon neutral and therefore combat these issues. Moreover, biofuels are renewable, cleaner in nature, are available as a captive feedstock in farms, and emit lesser toxic greenhouse gases. AS AN ECONOMIC ENABLER Being captive in nature, biofuels facilitate energy security. They also help reduce the country's high import bill and foreign exchange payout for crude oil. To that extent, they also help mitigate the spikes in pricing of crude oil in volatile situations caused by a mismatch in demand and supply. AS A SOCIAL ENABLER The exodus from rural areas in the pursuit of education and employment is putting additional stress on already stretched urban infrastructure. India has to strive 43 Be
3. Facilitate energy security & save valuable foreign exchange 4. Carbon neutral on environ mental issue of waste disposal 5. Inclusive growth- Boost rural economy by job creation 6. Stop farmers from torching the residues. 7. Uses existing infrastructure VARIOUS BIO-MOBILITY TECHNOLOGIES Biofuels can be derived from sugar and starch-based feedstock; and various technologies are available based on them. Shishir Joshipura
for inclusive growth especially in the rural sector for it to realise its ambition of reaching a five trillion dollar economy mark in five years. This is where biofuels can play a vital role in stepping up the rural economy. Bio-Mobility will provide India the opportunity to create a new frontier in building and defining the new sustainable energy eco system and model specifically suited to address the challenges faced by India. It will comprehensively address the new population of transport modes as also have the potential to address the entire existing fleet (Air, Surface and Marine) of fossil fuel driven ICE vehicles by making suitable modifications at fraction of a cost. Additionally, Bio-mobility has the all-important farmer inclusion element, that creates entrepre neurship and employment oppor tunities for the rural community in India. This solution to address the future direction of mobility must therefore be capable of addressing following challenges. 1. Fight pollution & Minimize GHG emissions 2. Combat Climate change; Help meet Cop 21 Obligations 44 Be
1G TECHNOLOGIES First generation biofuels, also known as conventional biofuels, are made from sugary feedstock (sugarcane juice, syrup, B heavy molasses, C molasses ), starchy feedstock (grains like sweet sorghum, corn, etc.) or vegetable oil. First generation biofuels are produced through well-established technologies and processes like fermentation, distillation, and trans -esterification. 2G TECHNOLOGIES 2G technology for lingo-cellulosic feedstock like wheat straw, paddy straw, rice straw, Bagasse and various other agricultural residue. This technology converts agriwaste into fuel grade ethanol. They produce fuel grade ethanol, bio chemicals, bio CNG, liquid CO2, bio fertilizers, and power that are exported to the grid. COMPRESSED BIOGAS (CBG) Agro-waste can be used as a raw material or feedstock to produce not just for biofuel such as ethanol, but also for compressed bio-gas (CBG) which can complement compressed natural gas (CNG). This technology solutions that help convert agrowaste into CBG which - unlike fossil fuels - are carbon neutral and therefore do not contribute to GHG emissions.
SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUELS (SAF) SAF stands for sustainable aviation fuel. It’s produced from sustainable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel. Using SAF results in a reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel SAF has applications in commercial aviation as well as in the defence sector. BIO-METHANOL Biomethanol is one of such biochemicals, which can be produced from biomass and biogenic wastes through thermochemical and biological routes. BIOHYDROGEN The biological H2 (biohydrogen) production process is an H2 production technology that utilizes renewable energy resources, such as biomass. MARINE BIOFUELS Marine Biofuels produced from lignin-based feedstock. BIO-REFINERIES- HOW WILL IT HELP? Just like a petrochemical refinery transforms and refines crude oil into more useful products such as petroleum naptha, gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, etc, a Biorefinery converts biomass to biofuels, biochemicals, and other beneficial products. CONCLUSION Bio-mobility is all set to redefine the transportation energy portfolio where biofuels are poised to play a bigger role. Being an economic, social, and environmental enabler, biofuels have the potential to make definitive contribution in ushering sustainable decarbonization through a circular bio -economy.
MOBILIZING RESOURCES, ENABLING POLICIES AND INVESTMENTS FOR COST-COMPETITIVE RENEWABLE FUELS AND BIOENERGY Maurizio Cocchi, ETA Florence Renewable Energies, Italy.
State of play of financing mechanisms and opportunities in the EU
ustainable bioenergy has a key role to play in reducing GHG emissions in the EU energy mix, while at the same time decreasing fossil fuel dependence and building a circular economy, in line with the 2030 and 2050 targets of the EU Green Deal. The Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan is a first step to establish an energy technology policy for Europe. In 2016, representatives of the European Commission, SET Plan countries and industry stakeholders agreed on a Declaration of Intent on strategic targets for bioenergy and renewable fuels, which was followed in 2017 by an Implementation Plan for Action 8 of the SET Plan
“Bioenergy and renewable Fuels for Sustainable Transport”, whose goal is to translate key actions into specific recommendations for research and development, and policy measures. The Implementation Plan outlines 13 research and innovation activities that need to be implemented to reach three common goals for bioenergy technologies: Improving the performance of production both in terms of yield and efficiency of processes (i), reduce GHG emissions along the value chain (ii) and reduce costs (iii). SET4BIO is a Horizon 2020 project launched in 2020 to support the execution of the Implementation Plan of SET Plan Action 8, which aims to facilitate the mobilisation of
national and European funds from both the public and private sectors, and to build an enabling framework for the deployment of sustainable bioenergy and renewable fuel technologies in Europe. Better alignment of national research funding needed to deploy synergies for bioenergy technologies In the context of funding and financing, one of the activities of SET4BIO is to get a picture about the public and private financing practices in the EU Member States participating in SET Plan Action 8, and to create awareness of funding needs and challenges. An initial analysis of available public tools including both the institutional funding (that research 45 Be
Figure 1 - A preliminary map of national bioenergy projects in the Member States supporting SET Plan Action 8 is available on SET4BIO website. The map is regularly updated, and new projects can be submitted for listing.
organizations receive directly from ministries), and the competitive funding mechanisms (distributed by funding agencies through competitive calls), revealed that it is practically impossible to determine the extent of funds that are allocated for Action 8 relevant R&D. The reason is that the individual countries record and categorize the information about funded projects individually and at multiple funding entities. The categories do not entirely correspond to the value chains covered in Action 8, as well as the categories vary from country to country. The consequence of the lack 46 Be
of harmonized and central database is that the progress and efficiency of the various SET Plan implementation plans will be nearly impossible to track. In addition, a sensible fragmentation and lack of alignment in the National public funding strategies for R&D at Member States level was observed. Most of the countries surveyed have both national and regional research financing tools, and all of them with a certain degree of centralization or decentralization, but there are hardly any cases where the national strategies are fully aligned with European ones. Only in few cases an alignment and
cooperation among Member States on research funding exists, that allows for joint research funding possibilities; for example the Nordic Co‐operation. Although the analysis is preliminary and will be updated in the next months, this initial outcome indicates that a more structured alignment and better harmonization of research policies and programs among the Member States and with the European Union is necessary, as well as a more efficient exchange of information, in order to deploy the synergies necessary for the achievement of the common goals of the SET Plan Action 8.
MAPPING R&D BIOENERGY PROJECTS IN MEMBER STATES SET4BIO partners are also conducting a thorough survey of the bioenergy projects funded both with National budgets by the Members States involved in SET Plan Action 8, and the international collaborative projects funded by the European Union. This is an ongoing work, and expectedly the data availability, level of granularity and the information on national projects retrieved at this stage were affected by the fragmentation and the limited harmonization of R&D programs cited above. Nevertheless, so far, the survey has mapped out 204 projects funded at National level in 10 countries and 41 collaborative EU projects, funded mainly through Horizon 2020. The collection of further data is a continuous task, and the project expects to deliver periodical updates and further analysis of the data in 2021 and 2022, including more information on national projects and on EU projects funded with programmes besides Horizon 2020, such as Interreg and LIFE.
PRIVATE FINANCING OPPORTUNITIES FOR BIOENERGY PROJECTS Another task of SET4BIO is monitoring the private financing opportunities for bioenergy, including available instruments to support private investments, such as grants, equity funds and loans mainly with a view to fund Firstof-a-Kind projects and high TRL solutions. Renewable energy can be financed using a variety of instruments, from grants to concessional debt and equity, to purely commercial debt and equity. Typically, more mature markets and technologies are financed with private finance on commercial terms, whereas grants and concessional finance are often used to stimulate investments in previously untested technologies and/or countries. Several instruments have been launched in the EU in the past years to support investments in the field of energy (mainly in the form of loans, equity, and guarantees). A series of instruments are available, and some others are in the process
of being launched, which might be interesting to support private investments into renewable based fuels and other technologies covered by SET Plan Action 8. For instance, the Green Deal Investment Plan is the investment pillar of the Green Deal. The European Green Investment Plan will offer sustainable investments over the next decade with three main objectives: • First, it will increase funding for the transition, and mobilise at least €1 trillion to support sustainable investments over the next decade through the EU budget and associated instruments, in particular InvestEU. • Second, it will create an enabling framework for private investors and the public sector to facilitate sustainable investments. • Third, it will provide support to public administrations and project promoters in identifying, structuring and executing sustainable projects. The new EU Multi‐Annual Financial Framework 2021‐2027 includes a series of new and updated financing instruments, although
Figure 2 - A roadmap of institutional funding opportunities, according to TRL level and funding range per project. Funding conditions mainly include grants, loans and equity.
there are still some uncertainties related to their implementation, which will be cleared in the next few months. The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP), allows project promoters in the EU to give visibility to their projects to a large network of international investors. One of the main issues for small players is how to promote their projects. Advisory Hubs and accelerators can assist small players in promoting their projects towards private equity investment funds, such as: • • •
InvestEU Advisory Hub Get Invest Finance Catalyst Circular Economy Finance Support Platform
Two online tools are also available for project developers to look for investors: EUROQUITY.COM Euroquity.com is a list of investors in the clean technologies, energy and environment sector. This web platform allows to select the type of investors according to different categories (e.g. individual, business angel, business angels network, crowdfunding platform, investment fund, corporate venture, and bank), sector (e.g. clean techno logies, energy and environment), and by country. INVESTEUROPE.EU investeurope.eu, where relevant investors can be searched according to the country, the sector (e.g. energy, environment, transportation), and the stage of financing of the project. In addition to private financing tools, the project has mapped out a series of other institutional opportunities that are available for funding of medium-high TRL bioenergy projects, such as: 48 Be
EUROPEAN INNOVATION COUNCIL FUND (EIC) The EIC Fund allows the European Commission to make direct equity investments in companies, with ownership stakes expected to be in general from 10% to 25% in start‐up companies. INVESTEU FUND Built on the model of the Investment Plan for Europe launched by the Juncker Plan, the InvestEU Fund aims to mobilise more than €372 billion of public and private investment through a guarantee of €26.2 billion that backs the investment the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and other implementing partners to invest in more and higher‐risk projects. MODERNIZATION FUND The Innovation and Modernisation funds are financed by a part of the revenues of the auctioning of carbon allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, and will provide €25 billion for the EU transition to climate neutrality, with a special focus on lower‐income Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia). THE EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT (EBRD) The EBRD works in several countries located in five main geographical areas, as well as Turkey and Russia: South‐eastern Europe; Central Europe and Baltic States; Eastern Europe and the Caucasus; Central Asia; Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. EU INNOVATION FUND The Innovation Fund is one of the world’s largest funding programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies. It will provide around EUR 10 billion of support over 2020-2030 for the
commercial demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, aiming to bring to the market industrial solutions to decarbonise Europe and support its transition to climate neutrality. RECOVERY AND RESILIENCE FACILITY (RRF) The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the key financial instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU and it will make €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by Member States. All national recovery and resilience plans will need to focus strongly on both reforms and investments supporting the green transition. JUST TRANSITION FUND The JTF is an EU funding tool for regions dependent on fossil fuels and high‐emission industries which will support the economic diversification and reconversion of the territories concerned.Accelerating the move out of fossil fuel extraction and carbon‐intensive activities through targeted support for economic diversification and creation of new economic opportunities and jobs has enormous potential to get Europe’s economy growing. CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION PARTNERSHIP A transformative Research and Innovation Programme across Europe boosting energy transition in all its dimensions. It enables energy transition from regional to national and global level, acting on the joint priorities of the Member States and Associated Countries and the European Commission. EUREKA Eureka is an intergovernmental network which supports the financing of transnational R&D projects, whose funds are provided by Member States.
EIC KICINNOENERGY The Knowledge and Innovation Community dedicated to sustainable energy (KICInno Energy) offers several services to innovators: start‐ ups, students and learners, including the financing of innovative projects via its Investment Round. NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY FINANCING MECHANISM EU renewable energy financing mechanism is a new initiative of the Commission to better support renewable energy projects that brings together investors and project developers, pooling resources and finding the right balance between public and private funds. The mechanism links countries that voluntarily pay (contributing countries) with countries that
agree to have new projects built on their territory (hosting countries) and provides support in the form of low‐interest loans or grants. More detailed information on the specific criteria and requirements of this large and diversified set of financing tools is available at www. set4bio.eu.
and financing instruments should enable each project to address those financing tools that best suit it, and to take full advantage of the new opportunities offered by the EU Green Deal and by the Financial Framework 2021‐2027. More at set4bio.eu
CONCLUSIONS Achieving the objectives of the SET Plan is an ambitious target that requires a collective effort by the European Union and its Member States to combine and coordinate knowledge, skills and resources. SET4BIO will act as a competence and support centre by engaging institutional and non-institutional actors and promoting innovative projects and best practices. The outlined roadmap of funding
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This article is based on a summary of SET4BIO deliverables prepared by Elisa Magnanelli, Judit Sandquist, Kathrin Weber (SINTEF, Norway), Paola Mazzucchelli, Carlos Castellano Pellicena (CIRCE). The SET4BIO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 884524.
„Technology pro Environment“ Innovative Bioreactors and Biogas Test Equipment Umwelt- und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH Dresden (UIT) is a German manufacturer and supplier of Bioreactors and Biogas Test Equipment with an expertise ranging from lab scale over technical scale to fermentation systems under sterile conditions. As a classic engineering company with production facilities, UIT is capable of providing high quality, turnkey standard products as well as customer specific solutions on request. From 2,5 to 60 L standard sizes, modular reactor systems can be equipped with a variety of sensors and measurement technology.
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Up to 10 Reactors of different sizes can be connected to one high resolution gas analyzer. Classic biogas application can be upgraded with hydrogen sensors for full range, high resolution measurement, suited for hydrogen production, methanization as well as aerobic fermentation processes.
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EBIO PROJECT WILL PRODUCE BIOFUELS THROUGH ELECTROCHEMICAL TRANSFORMATION OF INTERMEDIATE BIOLIQUIDS EBIO is a new Horizon 2020 research and innovation action launched at the end of 2020 to develop the electrochemical upgrading of liquefied biomass to stable and energy dense bio-oils and their further refinery co-processing to premium transport fuels. The research focus in EBIO is the electrochemical conversion of two low-valued and typical industrially available bio-liquids into green fuels and biochemicals: fast pyrolysis liquid and black liquor. The innovative concept of EBIO’s electrochemistry technology is able to operate in mild conditions avoiding the use of expensive infrastructure while minimizing the environmental impact and providing an additional degree of freedom compared to catalytic reactions. Moreover, the exploitation of existing facilities has a twofold advantage: easy and rapid scale-up together with a high public acceptance, in turn enlarging the feedstock basis for the production of competitive energy dense hydrocarbons (advanced fuels and chemicals). The vision of EBIO covers the entire value chain, from feedstock suppliers to end-users in the refinery and chemical sectors. The selection of the feedstocks, pyrolysis liquids and kraft mill black liquor, is based on their availability. In addition, those crude bioliquids are representative for the full spectrum of qualities of feedstocks that will become commercially available in
the next decade such as bio-liquids outputs from the Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) processes. The process of upgrading liquified biomass to environmentally friendly transport fuels consist of successive depolymerisation, hydrogenation and decarboxylation, optimised by developing electrode materials, cell designs, separation processes and efficient integration into existing biorefinery infrastructure. The uniqueness of EBIO is that no external source of hydrogen will be needed at the first stage hydroprocessing of pyrolysis oil, as protons and electrons are going to be generated in situ from water. The experimental development is supported by a broad sustainability analysis including economic feasibility, environmental footprint and impact on society and rural development. The expected achievements of the projects encompass a near-seamless integration of electrochemistry into biorefinery processes, a full process design and integration with existing utilities, a detailed technoeconomic evaluation to provide a realistic estimation of the manufacturing costs and assessment of societal and environmental challenges and effects. More at ebio-h2020.eu
BIOFUEL PRODUCTION AND PHYTOREMEDIATION SOLUTIONS FROM CONTAMINATED LANDS WORLDWIDE: PHY2CLIMATE The overall objective of the H2020 Phy2Climate project is to build the bridge between the phytoremediation of contaminated sites with the production of drop-in advanced biofuels. These biofuels will present no Land Use Change risks, thus the phytoremediation will decontaminate lands from a vast variety of pollutants and make the restored lands available for agriculture, while improving the overall sustainability, legal frame and economics of the process. A significant amount of land is contaminated worldwide and therefore unusable for any purpose. Soil pollution degrades major ecosystem services provided by soils. Phytoremediation consists of the use of plants and their associated microbes to stabilize, degrade, volatilize and extract soil pollutants. 50 Be
The Phy2Climate approach consists of the phytoremediation of contaminated sites in 5 regions all over the world with different characteristics (type of contamination, type of soil, climate, legislation) and combines it with innovative cascadic biomass converting technologies to produce added value products such as drop-in biofuels for the road and shipping transport as well as bio-coke as substitution of petroleum coke (pet-coke) in the metallurgical industry. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction will be achieved by substituting fossil fuels and petcoke as well as by enhancing the organic carbon content in the soil. This approach has a significant potential to provide a sustainable and economic solution to lower the pressure in the land-use competition. More at phy2climate.eu
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Upcoming bioenergy events MAY 2021 05 - 06
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15th World Congress on Biofuels and Bioenergy
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World Sustainable Energy Days
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All Energy 2021
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Progress in Biogas V
Stuttgart, Germany + online
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Birmingham, United Kingdom
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Biofuels International Conference & Expo
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COP26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties)
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Future of Biogas Europe 2021
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