VTT and partners seek breakthrough in Finnish biofuels and biochemicals technology

Project news

VTT is launching a two year research project on catalytic upgrading of bio oils to sustainable fuels and chemicals.

The development of biofuels and biochemicals based on lignocellulosic biomass got a boost in 2021 from EUR 1.37 million in funding from Business Finland. Catalytic Slurry Hydrotreatment (CaSH) project is coordinated by VTT and is addressing the global challenge of developing low carbon, non-fossil sustainable value chains towards important fuels and chemicals. Development of such value chains is of paramount importance in combating climate change. In particular, lignocellulosic residues are sustainable and abundant raw material to produce low carbon bio oils via liquefaction and further upgrade them to fuels and chemicals.

"Bio oils obtained via liquefaction of lignocellulosic biomass are readily available and attractive low-carbon feedstock which can replace fossil-based raw materials in modern refineries. In order to reach compatibility with existing refining processes, bio-oils need to be catalytically upgraded, which represents a major challenge due to complex and varied composition of lignocellulosic bio oils" says Juha Lehtonen, Research Professor at VTT.

We are now bringing together some of the leading Finnish R&D teams in the areas of catalysis and process development to solve this challenge together with industrial partners.
Juha Lehtonen

Lined to Neste Veturi Ecosystem, the research  project aims at providing scientific foundations for the novel low-carbon value chains in Finland, including but not limited to, biomass processing and bio oil production, catalytic bio oil upgrading, production and use of bio fuels and chemicals, process development and catalyst recovery.

'With the variety of renewable and recycled feedstock inputs increasing, the important target of the CaSH project is to look for a robust conversion technology to turn low quality feeds into high quality products', says Petri Lehmus, Vice President of Research and Development at Neste.

Key figures and information

Co-funded by Business Finland (EUR 1.37 million), three research institutions (VTT, Åbo Akademi University and University of Oulu) the project will be run for two years in 2021-2022 with a total budget of EUR 1.97 million. Eight companies joining the project consortium (BMH Technology, ESL Shipping, Fortum Recycling & Waste, Neste, Savon Voima, St1, Valmet, and VG Shipping) are representing all segments of the value chain from biomass pretreatment and biomass liquefaction, to catalytic upgrading, refining and end fuel usage.

Alexander Reznichenko
Alexander Reznichenko
Research Team Leader
Juha Lehtonen
Juha Lehtonen
Research Professor