Burning bio-oil to heat homes more sustainably – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

An EU-funded project has perfected the production of bio-oil and altered boilers to heat houses – recycling farm and forestry waste while slicing greenhouse fuel emissions.


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The extensive the vast majority of houses in Europe are heated by all-natural fuel or oil. Switching to alternate, sustainable fuels – this kind of as bio-oil manufactured from farm and forestry waste – would drastically cut down greenhouse fuel emissions and help to battle global warming.

In Germany alone, it has been calculated that altering just 10 % of the country’s outdated-fashioned boilers to run on bio-oil could minimize carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by all around five.five million tonnes for every year.

The aim of the EU-funded RESIDUE2HEAT project was to produce a beneficial liquid gas from a large selection of waste biomass, which could be utilized in little-scale boilers to give affordable, a lot more sustainable residential heating.

The researchers took a two-stage method. Initial, they searched for approaches to increase liquid biofuel made by means of a method acknowledged as rapid pyrolysis. The obstacle with this form of gas – acknowledged as rapid pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO) – is that even the most highly developed residential heating systems are not able to cope with its inconsistent homes. So, the project staff worked to produce a standardised product or service, irrespective of the raw elements utilized to make it.

RESIDUE2HEAT then appeared into adapting residential boilers to render them able of burning this gas.

‘Our novel FPBO-fuelled boiler meets most operational and environmental needs in the genuine supposed surroundings,’ clarifies project coordinator Herbert Pfeifer of RWTH Aachen University in Germany and scientific head of the OWI Oel-Waerme-Institut gGmbH, affiliated to the college. ‘And an environmental effects evaluation has verified the good impacts of FPBO heating when compared to fossil choices, particularly when it arrives to lessening greenhouse fuel emissions (80-ninety four %).’

Redesigning heating for houses

Working with the rapid pyrolysis method, waste biomass – this kind of as wheat straw, forest resides, bark, elephant grass and clean wooden – can be transformed into bio-oil. Setting up by modelling how FPBO breaks down and burns, the RESIDUE2HEAT staff then utilized the ensuing data to tailor the gas to fit residential heating.

By guaranteeing consistency in the fuel’s chemical homes, this kind of as drinking water articles, they succeeded in improving upon its steadiness and excellent.

Upcoming, they appeared at adapting and optimising current residential heating systems to allow the use of FPBO. A elaborate method, this necessary the redesign and manufacture of acceptable burner parts to optimise the burning of this gas.

Regular parts utilized in heating systems, this kind of as pumps and gas nozzles, have been examined for their FPBO compatibility. Considering that so little was acknowledged about FPBO combustion, RESIDUE2HEAT researchers examined the fuel’s behaviour in laboratory-scale burners right before scaling up the method.

Switch to biomass

The staff has also done a action-by-action roll-out program for the use of FBPO in residential heating, interviewing fuel, oil, and pellet heating procedure proprietors to ensure a good public acceptance. Importantly, they have demonstrated that the notion is expense-competitive with present-day fossil fuels with out the require for incentives, producing it economically feasible.

‘Ashes recovered from the FPBO production method have great probable for delivering soil nutrition and could as a result be recycled for agricultural applications,’ provides Pfeifer.

The staff hope that their tactics for developing large-excellent FPBO will offer a head get started to other study programmes, this kind of as the EU-funded SmartCHP project, which aims to acquire little-scale units for producing heat and electricity from biomass.