Sustainable biomass conversion into bioenergy through pyrolysis

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Project coordinator: Fatma Ashour, Cairo University, Egypt

Main topic addressed: Clean cooking and biomass transformation

Project partners:

Aim of PyroBioFuel

Create a unique knowledge infrastructure that supports decentralized, sustainable, and cost efficient conversion of biomass to sustainable
fuels, relevant to both Europe and Africa.


The project addresses the lack of access to clean, affordable, energy  in remote areas by seeking to increase availability of advanced biofuels and energy Africa through reliable, inexpensive, stand-alone system architectures that can be easily deployed in off-grid rural areas.

The project relies on tailored technologies, using local renewable sources and for local use of population and economy, while accelerating the development of sustainable fuels to replace fossil alternatives. It also contributes to the development of technical and managerial competences and capacities in the area of biomass conversion to enable proper uptake of project results.

About the Project

The project focuses on the sustainable biomass waste conversion into useful liquid fuels and biochar through pyrolysis, enhancing the biomass to fuel conversion pathway using new conversion technologies and innovative digital tools.

The project targets development of new technologies that overcome technological barriers, increase process efficiency, and reduce marginal costs in the biomass to fuel conversion process. The biomass feedstock varies according to participating countries and season, ranging from virgin biomass, waste biomass and energy crops, e.g., agricultural waste, sugarcane bagasse, corn stover, wheat husks, wood wastes, rice straws, sawmill, paper mill dis-cards, etc. The main focuses are fast pyrolysis optimization, development of processes to convert pyrolysis products to fuels, and model-based decision-making tools to support process development and performance validation.

Expected Results

PyroBioFuel will design and validate innovative processing technologies, including a compact Fischer Tropsch reactor and a catalytic hydrocracking reactor that will increase the efficiency of the fuel conversion process. Specific expected results include:

  • Optimise fast pyrolysis techniques for improved composition control and reduced feedstock based variation
  • Develop breakthrough MCRs for FTS and HCR, an order of magnitude smaller than conventional reactors
  • Valorise the produced biochar for multiple uses
  • Develop model based decision support tools for analysis of the proposed solutions
  • Develop environmental, LCA, and social impact investigations
  • Scale up and validate the performance of the technologies in fully integrated biomass to fuel pilot plant

News from PyroBioFuel

The LEAP-RE consortium gathers 83 African and European partners covering a wide range of sectors: education/research, private sector, policy and funding. Together, they are building a long-term partnership of African and European stakeholders committed to fostering research and innovation for the development of renewable energy.

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