STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, December 19, 2023 – RenFuel K2B AB (“RenFuel”) today announced that the Swedish Energy Agency (“SEA”) has awarded a grant of SEK 4.9 million to demonstrate an enhanced variation of RenFuel’s patented catalytic esterification processes to refine lignin co-products of pulp and paper production into Sustainable Aviation Fuel at increased yield in comparison to conventional methods. The project, led by RenFuel and Lund University, includes stakeholders across the whole value chain, from feedstock providers, to technology partners, to refiners and end users, and is expected to span a three-year period
RenFuel’s proprietary Lignol® biointermediate is an available lignin derivative technology, that can be refined from practically any type of lignin-containing waste or residue for use in existing renewable fuel refineries.
Lignin has traditionally had limited industrial uses due to its complex properties, but RenFuel’s patented catalytic esterification process refines it for use as a feedstock in renewable alternatives for standard fossil derived fuels, such as Gasoline, Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and Renewable Diesel Fuel. Woody biomass is the most abundantly available biomass, with lignin representing the second most abundant component, after only cellulose, consisting of 20-40% of trees and plants.
Certified pathways exist for Sustainable Aviation Fuel compositions that cannot be used without blending with fossil feedstocks. SEA has assessed that the RenFuel project has the potential to improve Sustainable Aviation Fuel compositions on an industrial scale in the short to medium term, including the addition of the critical natural aromatic content. A lignin-based biointermediate for sufficiently improved Sustainable Aviation Fuel compositions which will enable 100% renewable commercial flights, would represent a major breakthrough.
RenFuel believes that targeted continuous hydrotreatment enhancements to its patented catalytic esterification process have a remarkable potential to facilitate that breakthrough, both in terms of the quality of the resulting Sustainable Aviation Fuel compositions and the sheer volume of the feedstock source that RenFuel enables. Qualified lignin derivatives for RenFuel’s process include Kraft lignin from pulp and paper facilities. Lignin can also be obtained in even larger volumes as a residue directly from woody biomass, through Organosolv, or Hydrolysis processes.
The project aims to increase the yield of Sustainable Aviation Fuel from biointermediates produced with the RenFuel technology. The resulting fuel will be verified for its suitability in aircraft turbines and certified.
Sven Löchen, chief executive officer of RenFuel, said that “This project is a great opportunity for us to prove the potential of our ground-breaking technology and contribute to a sustainable energy and transportation system. I want to thank all the partners and collaborators who have supported us along the way.”
RenFuel innovates technologies that contribute to decarbonization and circularity by effectively turning under-utilized biomass waste and residues into renewable fuels and materials. To learn more, please visit www.renfuel.se.