Dear reader,

This is the first newsletter for the KPN project GAFT (Gasification and FT-Synthesis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks). In spite of a late start, researchers have been working hard to make sure not to fall behind. On the 23rd and the 24th of November, we will have the opportunity to inform our partners about what we have achieved so far. We are looking forward to meet you all and are eager to hear your feedback about our activities. This newsletter gives you a small taste of GAFT first results and ongoing work. I hope you will enjoy reading it!

Roger Khalil, GAFT project manager


Why are liquid biofuels important?

The heavy-duty transport sector is the main contributor to climate gas emissions (33% in Norway) and needs to find a sustainable energy source for the replacement of liquid fossil fuels. The European Commission have launched a new roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 where the role of biofuels is especially emphasized for aviation and heavy duty trucks. These sectors do not have in the near future other alternatives to meet the targets to reduce climate gas emissions than using liquid biofuels.


GAFT aims to pave the road for accelerating the implementation of liquid biofuels production in Norway. The main strategies in GAFT for improving the overall economy of biofuels production are: i) co-process woodchips, low grade woody biomass and organic waste, ii) decentralized the conversion of biomass to a high-energy density liquid biocrude, and iii) utilize current petrochemical infrastructure to refine the biocrude to marketable liquid biofuels.

GAFT: Value chain model for production of liquid biofuels from co-prosessing low grade woody biomass and organic waste.


Preparation of biomass to produce liquid biofuels

The GAFT project will investigate and identify optimal pretreatment strategies suitable for a wide variety of feedstock, including woodchips, low grade forest residues and organic waste. This will allow increasing the feedstock basis for biofuels production, which is important for securing feedstock supply, reducing transport costs and improving the overall economy of biofuels production. Pretreatment experiments will be performed using representative samples from the industry partners.     


Entrained flow Gasification

During the GAFT project, gasification experiments using representative industrial feedstock will be undertaken in a new Entrained Flow Reactor installed at the SINTEF ER laboratory. This reactor has been designed as a downscaled version of present industrial-scale EF gasifiers. The experimental campaign will aim at finding optimal feedstock blends and operating conditions in order to improve the energy efficiency in gasification while increasing the H2 to CO ratio in the producer gas to meet the requirements of downstream synthesis.     


Micro-reactors for synthesis of bio-crudes

In GAFT, biocrude synthesis will be based on microchannel reactors, which is the state-of-the-art commercial technology for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. This technology improves the mass and heat transfer, leading to higher conversion rates, while reducing the dimensions of reactor systems. Microchannel FT reactors consist of reactor blocks (cores) containing thousands of thin process channels filled with FT catalyst, which are interleaved with water-filled coolant channels. As a result they are able to dissipate the heat produced by the highly exothermic FT reaction much more quickly than conventional systems, so more active FT catalysts can be used.


Novel probabilistic analysis of the value chain

During the GAFT project, an integral analysis of the complete value chain, from the raw feedstock to the drop-in biofuels, will be performed using a business case representative of industrial Norwegian conditions. The analysis will be multidisciplinary including key aspects such as feedstock availability and supply, performance of the selected technologies, strategies for regulations and incentives, and risks along the whole value chain. The economic viability of the business case will also consider contingencies and measures for mitigating identified risks.


Other news

BRISK: Biofuels Research Infrastructure for Sharing Knowledge

BRISK is a European platform formed by 26 research centers in 14 countries in order to exchange knowledge and infrastructure for helping the development of technologies for production of biofuels. Within the BRISK platform, SINTEF ER will collaborate with the SP Energy Technology Center in Sweden to experimentally compare the difference in gas composition and energy efficiency between two entrained flow gasifiers of different size operating at different thermal power but where all other conditions are the same (fuel, pressure, equivalence ratio, particle size, oxygen concentration on inlet etc.). This activity will support the scale-up analysis of the entrained flow gasification technology that will be undertaken within GAFT.

Nordic Aviation Biofuels study under preparation

SINTEF Energy is participating in a project financed by the Nordic Energy Research. The project title is "Perspectives on the use of advanced sustainable jet fuel for aviation" and is led by NIRAS in Denmark. The final report will be published in the middle of 2016. SINTEF Energy is contributing with it's expertize on the Norwegian conditions and as the Norwegian partner.

Activities in IEA task 33: Thermal gasification of biomass

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organization formed by 28 member countries which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy. IEA is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing reliable and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations. Representing Norway, SINTEF ER participates in the IEA Task 33, which aims to promote the development and commercialization of biomass thermal gasification technology. In 2015, the first task meeting was held in Ponferrada, Spain, 11-13 May, at CIUDEN facilities. The subject of the meeting was mainly preparations for the new triennium that lasts 2016-18. The meeting was held jointly with the Symposium on Renewable Energy and Products from Biomass and Waste. Site visit was also included. The second meeting was the last IEA meeting in the current triennium (2013-15) held together with the IEA Bioenergy conference 27-29 October. In the new triennium SINTEF ER aims at hosting an IEA Task33 meeting in Trondheim (Norway) jointly with a GAFT project workshop.  


Calender of events


GAFT Workshop                                      

23-24 November 2015, Trondheim Norway

8th International Users Conference for Biomass Gasification       

2 December 2015, Innsbruck, Austria

24th European Biomass Conference and exhibition 

6-9 June 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands



• GAFT project manager: Roger Khalil

• Feedstock pretreatment: Liang Wang

• Gasification: Per Carlsson

• Fischer-Tropsch synthesis: Rune Myrstad

• Value-chain analysis: Gonzalo del Alamo