Bio4all turns forest and agricultural biomass residues into sustainable chemicals and fuels

Project news

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Åbo Akademi University, Tampere University and LUT University together with a large consortium of Finnish and international companies are developing value chains from forest and agricultural biomass residues into aviation and marine fuels as well as selected chemical products.

Public research project called Bio4all is co-funded by Business Finland, and it will run for 2,5 years with a total budget of 3,5 MEUR. The project aims to develop low carbon footprint pathways from biomass to fuels and chemicals through liquefaction and catalytic upgrading. 

“We need to find more economically feasible and sustainable pathways from biomass residues and wastes to value added end products such as transportation fuels and plastics. In Bio4all, we develop biomass liquefaction technologies to enable large scale commercialization. Efficient upgrading technologies of bio-oils and maximal side products utilization are in key roles to improve the profitability and ecological footprints of the developed technologies,“ explains VTT’s Research professor Juha Lehtonen.

The project consortium has a strong industrial representation throughout the studied value chain. Companies participating include BASF SE, Boreal Bioproducts, Borealis Polymers, Dieffenbacher Panelboard, Fifth Innovation, Meriaura, Neste and Valmet. The consortium is further strengthened by the links with the three Veturi ecosystems of Borealis, Neste and Valmet. Veturi ecosystems are extensive research programs funded by Business Finland.

How to boost economics while reducing carbon footprint?

Value chains in Bio4all are based on the biomass liquefaction technologies, such as fast pyrolysis and hydrothermal liquefaction. To improve the quality of bio-oil intermediates and the carbon efficiency of the value chains, pretreatment of biomass feedstock and maximal side product utilization will be in key role of the project to boost the overall economics and reduce carbon footprint of the processes. 

“Aligned with our vision, Valmet is dedicated to find ways to maximize the value of resources. We are thrilled to apply our extensive pyrolysis technology and process knowhow to the Bio4all project, innovating new ways to harness side streams that might otherwise go untapped. Together with our consortium partners, we aim to discover new economically viable, sustainable, and carbon-neutral, or better yet, carbon-negative products,” says Joakim Autio, Solution Development Manager at Valmet.

During the project, the potential of biochar in activated carbon production will be evaluated and the feasibility of the off-gas use in the hydrogen production will be studied. Additionally, different electrochemical and -catalytical methods for wastewater treatment and valorization will be investigated. Furthermore, the produced bio-oil intermediates will be upgraded by catalytic technologies to transportation fuels and petrochemistry feedstock. Target is to replace fossil feedstock with bio-based wastes and residues and increase the sustainability of these products. 

"We are happy to join forces within our Veturi ecosystem to unlock new renewable raw materials for producing renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for polymers and chemicals, such as lignocellulosic waste and residues. Collaboration plays a key role in driving forward scientific breakthroughs, which are crucial for reaching global climate targets," says Petri Lehmus, Vice President, Research and Development at Neste.

“Unlocking the route from bio-based waste streams towards cracker feeds could enable the use of biomass in long lasting or recyclable products like plastic pipes or packaging, keeping the harvested carbon captured in plastic materials. Bio4All consortium allows us to explore this opportunity together with relevant upstream ecosystem partners,” concludes Ismo Savallampi, Manager of Sustainable Feedstocks Projects at Borealis.

Juha Lehtonen
Juha Lehtonen
Research Professor
Our vision beyond 2030

The need for sustainable materials, consumer goods and chemicals is growing around the world. Where will the raw materials needed for the production come from – and will they be sustainably sufficient?