Welcome to NET-Fuels! Creating carbon-negative, sustainable fuels from biogenic waste.

NETFuels process

Technical Summary

  • As illustrated left, the NET-Fuels process is as follows:
  • ● Waste biomass feedstock is converted into bio-oil, biochar and syngas via Thermo-Catalytic Reforming (TCR®);
  • ● Hydrogen is separated from the syngas by Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and the residual tail gas is combusted in an oxygen atmosphere for CO2 removal and process heat;
  • ● Further CO2 is extracted from the exhaust gas and converted into methane via BioElectrochemical Methanation;
  • ● The biochar is applied as soil amendment in the agricultural sector producing a carbon sink.

Project Technology

Project Work Packages

The NET-Fuels projects will run for four years (from November 2022). The integrated conversion processes will be delivered and validated to Technology Readiness Level 5 (validation in a relevant environment) using 6 Work Packages. These work packages also include comprehensive activities relating to communication, dissemination, and business case development to ensure the technology can be taken forward towards pilot demonstration and commercial exploitation. The project work packages are described below.

Work Package 1: Management, Coordination and Risk Management

  • General Objective: To ensure efficient management of the project by the establishment and operation of an effective consortium management structure.

    (Task led by University of Bologna).

    WP1 Specific Objectives:
  • 1: Provide organisation and management of consortium activities including the consortium agreement, partner interactions, timescales, budgets and communication with the Commission, any overall legal, IP, contractual and ethical management issues
  • 2: Coordination of the scientific, technological and administrative efforts of the various partners.
  • 3: Organise of all management workshops and meetings, including the general assembly meetings, mid-term and final review
  • 4: Monitor issues related to ethics and gender equality
  • 5: Handling of risk assessment and management

  • General Objective: Technical assessment of a combined approach for the production of biofuel, H2 and biochar in combination with CO2 capture from oxy-combustion in terms of product quality, process stability and efficiency.

    To push the limits of technology in WP2 tests with TCR in combination with an oxyfuel-process will be conducted. Different biogenic residues will be examined (T2.1) and used to produce oil, syngas and biochar using TCR30 (T2.3). Syngas will be used to produce H2, the residual tail-gas will be used to conduct tests with an oxy-fuel combustor to capture CO2 from the flue gas (T2.2 - T2.3). The CO2 will be provided for tests in WP3, before making the integrated tests (Task 3.4). The produced biochar will be assessed according to its quality and ability to be certified as a C-sink (T2.4).

    (Task led by Fraunhofer).

    WP2 Specific Objectives:
  • 1: Test different biogenic residues as feedstock for production of CO2-negative fuels.
  • 2: Develop and optimize oxyfuel combustion combined with CO2 capture and production of clean and processable CO2 for later utilization.
  • 3: Assessment and optimization of CO2-quality as input for the BEM process.
  • 4: Provide technology to use process heat from oxyfuel-combustion in the TCR process.
  • 5: Evaluate char quality regarding carbon sink potential and soil application.

  • General Objective: Design, build, operate and optimize the BEM reactor for the bio-electrochemical conversion of CO2 into CH4, valorising the emissions of the TCR process (WP2), with the ambition of accomplishing a zero-emission process.

    (Task led by Leitat).

    WP3 Specific Objectives:
  • 1: Design of a BEM reactor based on a feasible and realistic scalable configuration and manufactured employing current industrial techniques.
  • 2: Laboratory testing and optimization.
  • 3: Validating BEM process with real TCR gas and assessing microbial tolerance to impurities.
  • 4: Providing the characteristics of all system relevant components for further process modelling.
  • 5: Building a pilot BEM plant for direct integration with TCR and oxy-combustion processes.

  • General Objective: Overall sustainability analysis for proving negative GHG emissions and higher sustainability potential of biofuel production when reusing biogenic effluent gases in-situ, along with addressing socioeconomic aspects.

    (Task led by University of Bologna).

    WP4 Specific Objectives:
  • 1: Ensure reproducibility, transparency and comparability of the sustainability assessment: system boundaries, reference biofuel technology, time horizon, functional units, scenarios, impact categories and characterization models, data flow, data sources and shared datasets.
  • 2: Ensure comprehensiveness and relevance to the project of the LCA: realising an attributional life-cycle assessment of the NET-Fuels technology prospectively used for case studies identified in WP5.
  • 3: Ensure validity over time and under different conditions of the LCA assessment: contribution of NET-Fuels technologies for reaching carbon negative solutions in comparison to the current biofuels production (counterfactual scenario) and considering a variety of conditions of the feedstock, operations and case studies in time and different regions.
  • 4: Studying the technology impact in the society: input-output analysis to assess the effects of the NET-Fuels technologies in industry inter-relations and cascading effects on society; cultural, political, and ecological-economic implications of NET-Fuels.
  • 5: Certifying negative emissions: carbon sink assessment of the NET-Fuels process to prepare a certification scheme.

  • General Objective: To address the project’s Business Development and its Potential Industrial Upscaling for a future commercial phase, as well as its Regulatory Assessment.

    (Task led by Reach).

    WP5 Specific Objectives:
  • 1: Perform a comprehensive market intelligence research analysis for the NET-Fuels technology in order to support the business development definition of the project and its future industrial market uptake.
  • 2: Define the approach for the Business Model development of the project outcomes and elaborate its Business Plan related to the future uptake of the NET-Fuels technologies on the industrial market.
  • 3: Perform a regulatory assessment for the overall NET-Fuels approach.
  • 4: Define the approach and the roadmap for the overall system scale-up.

  • General Objective: To deliver the dissemination, exploitation, and communication strategy in order to raise the profile of the NET-Fuels process and secure commercial and political buy-in.

    (Task led by WRG Europe).

    WP6 Specific Objectives:
  • 1: Develop and continuously update the dissemination, communication, and exploitation plan.
  • 2: Communicate the project results.
  • 3: Deliver the dissemination strategy.
  • 4: Deliver the exploitation strategy.