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Sustainable concepts


The majority of chemicals, such as plastics, fuels, medicines and paints are currently based on fossil raw materials. Demand for chemicals generated from renewable sources is rapidly growing . This drive has created a need for alternative, environmentally friendly production routes. The demand for green products is a reality. The techno-economical competitiveness of the production process is the key question in the development of green products.

VTT research eco-system has expertise process development, technical testing and techno-economic assessment. We can screen the best renewable options from raw materials to your desired end product and provide you with a tailor-made solution suitable for your business. The processes developed at VTT offer feasible routes from biomass to a wide array of green chemicals. Processes such as biomass gasification followed by  Fischer-Tropsch synthesis are applied to convert  raw materials to value added products.

The key elements for valuable sustainable products may already be at your site. Whether you have waste waters, flue gases, or excess heat, electricity and process gases, VTT can provide you with a renewable solution that fits your process and business.

Sustainable products2.jpgWe develop technology for the manufacture of for instance "green" olefins, aromatics, paraffins and oxygenates. The fields of application include:



  • Solvents

  • Active components such as green paracetamol

Cosmetics and personal care products

  • Waxes and white oils

  • Surfactants

  • Emollients

  • Humectants

  • Solvents


Waxes and white oils

  • Packaging materials and sealants

  • Car wax

  • Candles

Paper chemicals (ASA), plasticisers, lubricants, drilling fluids

Biomass gasification and gas cleaning to synthesis gas

Synthesis gas reactions

  • Fischer-Tropsch-reaction using Co- and Fe-catalysts to paraffins and olefins

  • IPR on catalysts, reactors and coating techniques

Organic industrial syntheses

Utilisation of CO2 for the manufacture of chemicals and fuels

  • Reverse water-gas-shift technology

Techno Economic Assessment of processes

Operation in laboratory-, pilot- and demonstration-scale

International networking

  • Wide research networks

  • Coordination of EU-projects

Challenge: Valorisation of industrial CO2 emissions to chemicals.

Solution: Demonstration of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis with real side stream gases by mobile synthesis unit .

Benefit: Changing CO2 emissions to valuable products.


Challenge:  To create know-how in production of fuels and chemicals from CO2 emissions which are the key technologies for CO2 utilization and how do they work?

Solution: Production of synthetic natural gas, diesel, gasoline, wax and methanol using CO2 as the carbon source.

Benefit: To create valuable products and to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Our wide selection of reactor set-ups are constantly used for catalyst testing and process optimization. The set-ups are also regularly used for purposes outside catalyst testing. For example, we do heat and gas treatments for solid materials, provide feed gases and analysis for biotechnological systems, and costruct tailored systems for special samples.

PPFR1 – Pressurized Plug Flow Reactor

Temperature: 300 – 950 °C

Pressure: 1 – 20 bar

Flow rate: 1 – 15 l/min

Sample volume: Catalyst bed 1 – 25 cm3 or 2x2x10 monolith

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, O2, CH4, C2H4, H2S, NH3, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases


PPFR2 – Pressurized Plug Flow Reactor

Temperature: 300 – 1000 °C

Pressure: 1 – 10 bar

Flow rate: 1 – 15 l/min

Sample volume: Catalyst bed 1 – 25 cm3 or 2x2x10 monolith

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, O2, CH4, C2H4, H2S, NH3, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases


APFR2 – Atmospheric Plug Flow Reactor

Temperature: 300 – 1200 °C

Pressure: Atmospheric

Flow rate: 1 – 2 l/min

Sample volume: Catalyst bed 1 – 25 cm3 or 2x2x10 monolith

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, O2, CH4, C2H4, H2S, NH3, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases


APFR3 – Atmospheric Plug Flow Reactor 

Temperature: up to 700 °C

Pressure: Atmospheric

Flow rate: up to 2 l/min

Catalyst volume: Multiple reactor types in use

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, synthetic air, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases


Fischer-Tropsch reactor

Temperature: < 550 °C

Pressure: 100 bar

Flow rate: Typically 5 – 20 l/h

Catalyst volume: Typically 2- 50 ml (reactors with varying diameters)

Gases: Typically CO, H2, N2 or Ar, (CO2, CH4)

The system is equipped with an on-line GC-system which can be used to analyze CO, H2, N2/Ar, CO2, CH4, hydrocarbons up to C15, n-alcohols up to C12 as well as other oxygenates if needed.


Aqueous phase reformer

Temperature: atm - 600 °C

Pressure: atm - 40 bar

Liquid flow rate: 0.5 – 10 ml/min

Gas flow rate: N2 100 mln/min, H2 80 mln/min

Catalyst volume: Reactor dimension: DI: 12 mm, L = 405 mm. Flexible volume (possible to reduce by metal bar filling)

Product analysis: On-line GC with FID and TCD

Power-to-Gas and Power-to-Liquids concepts is as a synergetic solution for storing energy and producing value added products from intermittent renewable energy sources and CO2. Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) is additionally a key technology for mitigation of CO2 emissions.

Recently, VTT has developed and commissioned a Mobile Synthesis Unit (MOBSU) in close collaboration with INERATEC GmbH, a spin-off company of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany). The Mobile Synthesis Unit is a multipurpose system for CO2 upgrading to energy carriers and chemicals, which can be transported to sites where CO2 emission and renewable energy are available.



The unit is comprised of a VTT in-house designed reverse water gas shift reactor and a micro-scale Fischer-Tropsch reactor by INERATEC. These technologies enable the production of hydrocarbon products from CO2 and H2 with production rate of 14 kg of hydrocarbons per day in continuous operation. Furthermore, a methanation reactor will be added enabling the production of synthetic natural gas (SNG).


Fisher-Tropsch reactor by INERATEC GmbH

  • Produces Fischer-Tropsch gases, liquids and waxes
  • Inlet gas feed rate 5 Nm3/h
  • Temperature: 200 - 240 °C
  • Pressure: 10 - 30 bar(a)


Reverse water-gas-shift reactor by VTT

  • Produces CO from CO2 for the synthesis unit.
  • Temperature: 850 °C
  • Pressure: 5 bar(a)


Methanation reactor by VTT

Produces synthetic natural gas from CO2 and H2.


  • Lenght: 9.1 m
  • Width: 2.5 m
  • Height: 3.0 m + 5 m effluent piping on top of the container
  • Control room