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Fast pyrolysis – conversion of biomass to bio-oil

Integrated production of fuels and chemicals


Solid biomaterials may be converted with high efficiency into liquid biofuels using fast pyrolysis. The advantage of the VTT technology is that it is well suited for integration to existing power plants, and it also makes possible distributed production of high value products. It also offers a potential for phased construction of biofuel capacity. In such a case, upgrading of the primary liquid to transportation fuels and aromatics is carried out at a central refinery.

VTT is participating in the commercial development of the integrated pyrolysis with Valmet, Fortum and UPM during 2008-14. Valmet was able to scale-up fast pyrolysis technology at a rapid pace to pilot-scale by using our services.

Scaling-up of fast pyrolysis

The competence builds on a thorough understanding of the liquid product, the process characteristics, and their role in scaling-up work. We have participated in projects, where a total of four fast pyrolysis pilot plants have been operated. The most recent is the pilot of Valmet, which was built for their research centre.

We can evaluate suitability of various biomasses for the production of sustainable and renewable transportation fuels and biochemicals. We can produce samples of your material for further analysis and testing. We can also carry out preliminary techo-economic evaluations concerning the performance of such systems.

Experienced personnel using unique facilities

Our strength is the critical mass of persons representing development (experimental and modellig), analytics, and technical services. We also operate a unique fast pyrolysis pilot plant, which may be used to help scaling-up processes.The fast pyrolysis group has for several years been part of an IEA pyrolysis network. We have been working for manufacturing, utility, and forest product industries. Industries, who have biomass residues at their disposal, could evaluate the potential of fast pyrolysis to fuels and chemicals.







​Integrated fast pyrolysis bio oil production plant

Customer: Fortum Power and Heat Oy

Challenge: Create the world’s first integrated bio oil production plant & demonstrate the viability of bio oil as a replacement for fossil fuels in heat production

Solution: VTT’s patented process integrates a fluidized-bed boiler with pyrolysis. Produced in this way, bio-oil is more cost-efficient than when produced in a separate pyrolysis process

Key benefits:

  • A short timeline from research to demonstration
  • Replacement of fossil fuel in the generation of heat and power
  • Efficient use of forestry waste streams