Can we use biofeedstocks without co-processing them with conventional crudes to produce drop-in fuels?Jan-2022
Joris Mertens, KBC (A Yokogawa Company), firstname.lastname@example.org
Raw bio feedstocks cannot be used as fuel in road transportation. Lipids (vegetable oils/animal fats) need to be either transesterified to FAME or hydrotreated to paraffinic diesel (HVO/HEFA).
The use of HVO/HEFA and FAME as low carbon bunker fuel are seriously considered as alternatives to ammonia or hydrogen. There are some technical issues that can be addressed (such as viscosity, NOx). Considering that large ship engines are designed to process heavy residual fractions, it should even be possible to process untreated vegetable oils. However, ultimately the use of lipids as bunker fuel (either FAME, HEFA or straight vegetable oils) is likely to be limited due to availability and competition with road diesel and SAF (sustainable aviation fuel).
Sugar, another bio feedstock, also needs processing (for example, to ethanol).
The bio feedstock that is most ample in supply is lignocellulosic material (such as forestry/agricultural waste). However, conversion of lignocellulosic feed to higher value fuels or chemicals requires more complex technologies than hydrotreater coprocessing.