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Project Summaries

Here  is a broad overview of the objectives of each of BioFuelNet’s 10 projects:

 

Project Description/objectives
1. Purpose-grown feedstock This project focuses on enhancing the production of purpose-grown advanced biofuel feedstock crops. Purpose-grown advanced biofuel feedstocks include crops such as biomass grasses (e.g. switchgrass, Miscanthus, etc.) and trees (e.g. hybid poplar, willow, etc.) grown on marginal lands. Techniques to enhance production of such crops may take many forms, e.g. crop rotation, application of supplements, crop management system, etc. but successful applications will be able to demonstrate that the enhancement will be efficient and sustainable form an economic and carbon-emissions point of view.
2. Residues & waste This project is focused on the management and collection of biological residues that include municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural residues (straw and stover), and forestry residues (bark, sawdust, branches and other secondary feedstock from forestry including leaves). A major focus of residues is the ability to integrate a decentralized approach for collection and management with a depot system while still maintaining large central processing centers where appropriate. The collection and management waste needs to be integrated into the value-added chain for biofuels and associated co-products which is very attractive for industrial implementation.
3. Bioconversion The Bioconversion Project (using microorganisms, enzymes, pretreatment, biological processes, etc.) will integrate the relevant expertise that exists within the Canadian biorefining sector by linking the research activities of individuals and groups of investigators to maximize the synergies of the overall research program. This will lead to the improved biochemical transformation of biomass to bio-fuels and value-added co-products.
4. Pyrolysis The Pyrolysis Project will integrate the broad Canadian pyrolysis expertise by linking the research activities of investigators pursuing individual research activities and, consequently, maximize the synergy and the relevant outcomes of the overall research program. This will lead to improved technologies for the thermochemical transformation of appropriate biomass materials and, particularly, residual resources, into value-added bio-fuels and associated co-products which will be potentially attractive for industrial implementation.
5. Gasification The objective of the Gasification Project is to deal with technological and socio-economical aspects of the value chain ranging from the feedstock used for gasification down to the added value products synthesized from syngas and/or derivatives. The Gasification Project (GP) will be looking for innovative approach to solve technological bottlenecks generally associated with the gasification process either upstream or downstream of the actual gasifier. All projects will have to have strong support from the industry.
6. Emerging conversion technologies The network has identified several unique niches of advanced biofuel technologies that are starting to make greater impact on the developing biofuel marketplace in North America and Globally. To help evaluate and further develop these technology subsets, the network seeks to establish a portfolio of projects encompassing a range of activities including technical projects on advancing these technologies, combustion trials investigating the opportunities for blending with traditional fuels, and several SEES elements not yet explored for these new fuels.
7. Combustion & engine operations The Utilization project will provide BFN and its stakeholders with knowledge and data about the performance of various biofuels produced by the Conversion projects in a set of representative engine technologies. This will allow a path to market for the resulting fuels. The ultimate goal will be for BFN to identify the optimal combination of feedstock and conversion technologies for the production of liquid biofuels that meet current and future engine needs.
8. Life cycle analysis & microeconomics The life cycle analysis and microeconomics project will provide BFN members with detailed analyses of the environmental and/or economic impacts of various process stages under analysis. Examples of this type of work would include developing feedstock cost assessments for innovative recovery and transport approaches, or benchmarking chemical costs to provide conversion and utilization scientists with targets that must be overcome to increase competitiveness. Work packages in this project will be closely associated with BFN Projects 1-7. The ultimate goal of this work is to provide BFN members with the data required to assist in developing economically and environmentally sustainable technologies to deliver biofuels to Canadian markets.
9. Domestic & international policy BFN recognizes that domestic and international policy regimes are essential to create a level playing field for biofuels, particularly in early years of establishment. This has been demonstrated by the now-mature corn-to-ethanol sector, which required many years of support to reach an economically sustainable point. While it is unlikely that large subsidies for advanced biofuels will be made available, a variety of policy tools remain for application in Canada. At the same time, it is important to understand the changing landscape of biofuel policy in other countries, including the member states of the European Union, and the United States.
10. Supply-chain logistics BFN recognizes that a leading contributor to biofuel cost is the price of biomass feedstocks, which are widely distributed and which tend to cost more as the quantity required increases. The Supply Chain Logistics project will focus on developing and applying models which can be used to assess the economics and environmental footprint associated with biomass recovery, transport, processing, distribution and use. The project will focus on specific non-food feedstocks that are likely to support the bioeconomy in the short- to mid-term, and will work to link economic models with existing databases describing biomass availability from natural and managed forests, fields, and municipalities. There will be strong linkages between this project and Project #1, which generates purpose-grown feedstock, Project #2, which handles mechanics of residue and waste management and collection, as well as Project #8, which examines the life cycle impacts and costs associated with specific process stages associated with the biorefinery.