Commercial status of direct thermochemical liquefaction technologies

Jul 2023

The full report is available here.

Direct thermochemical liquefaction (DTL) of biomass is an important pathway to produce liquid biofuels and biochemicals for the circular economy. DTL technologies include fast pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) and solvolysis processes.

The aim of this report, commissioned by IEA Bioenergy Task 34 (biomass liquefaction), is to highlight how DTL technologies currently have a role to play in mobilizing biomass into the energy (heat, power and transport) and chemicals sectors, and to highlight the key features of commercially successful DTL operations. The report covers current commercial activity, near-to-market activities (e.g. demonstration plants) and some recently decommissioned plants.

Details of 11 commercial and 15 demonstration scale DTL plants that are either operational or under construction/late-stage development, spread across 14 countries, are provided. There are currently 6 operational commercial plants, all based on fast pyrolysis technology. The growing interest in Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is illustrated by the presence of 6 demonstration plants in the report and the start of the first commercial plant, expected in 2023. While most of the liquid products from the precursor plants were produced for heating applications, more and more processes include an upgrading of the liquid product into transportation fuels or chemicals.

The information presented shows that DTL technologies have matured to become a key vehicle for bioenergy commercialisation. Increasing number of pilots have succeeded bridging the technology valley of death by advancing the technology readiness level beyond TRL6 at reasonable costs to demonstrate scalability and financial viability. Commercial-scale DTL plants require significant investments that are financed through mechanisms such as equity, debt financing, shareholding and government grants. Favourable policy initiatives will further increase the number of commercial DTL plants, contributing to increasing bioenergy production.

Lead authors: François-Xavier Collard, Suren Wijeyekoon and Paul Bennett (Scion, New Zealand)

A database of DTL activities that includes pilot-scale operations is also available on Task 34 website

Info sheets included in the report:

Commercial Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction Plants:

Country Project Owner Technology provider Technology Status
Brazil Aracruz Project Ensyn & Suzano Envergent (Ensyn RTP®) Fast pyrolysis Under development
Canada Chuntoh Ghuna facility Arbios Biotech Licella (Cat-HTRTM) Hydrothermal liquefaction Under development (for 2023)
Canada Côte-Nord pyrolysis facility Bioenergy AE Côte-Nord Envergent (Ensyn RTP®) Fast pyrolysis Active since 2018
Canada Ensyn Ontario facility Kerry Group Ensyn (RTP®) Fast pyrolysis Active since 2006
Canada Onym Montreal East Onym Group Onym Group Fast pyrolysis Under development (for 2023)
Finland Green Fuel Nordic facility Green Fuel Nordic Oy BTG-BTL Fast pyrolysis Active since 2020
France ReSolute project Circa Group Circa Group (FuracellTM) Catalytic pyrolysis Under development (for 2024)
Netherlands Empyro Twence BTG-BTL Fast pyrolysis Active since 2015
Sweden Pyrocell pyrolysis plant Pyrocell AB Technip FMX & BTG-BTL Fast pyrolysis Active since 2021
USA Ensyn Georgia project Ensyn Ensyn (RTP®) Fast pyrolysis Under development
USA Red Arrow facilities Kerry Group Ensyn (RTP®) Fast pyrolysis Active since 1995


Demonstration Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction Plants:

Country Project Owner Technology provider Technology Status
Australia FuracellTM Demonstration Plant Circa Group & Norske Skog Circa Group Catalytic pyrolysis Active since 2018
Australia New South Wales: Cat-HTRTM demo facility Arbios Biotech Licella (Cat-HTRTM) Hydrothermal liquefaction Active since 2012
Canada Metro Vancouver demo facility Metro Vancouver Genifuel (PNNL technology) Hydrothermal liquefaction Under development for 2023
China Dali County Facility Shanxi Yingjiliang Biomass Company & Shanghai Jiao Tong University idem Fast pyrolysis Active since 2013
Denmark Sludge2Fuel project Crossbridge Energy & Circlia Nordic Circlia Nordic Hydrothermal liquefaction Under development
Germany TCR® demonstration facility Fraunhofer Umsicht Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (TCR®) Intermediate pyrolysis and

Integrated reforming


Active since 2021
India IH2 Demonstration Facility Shell Catalysts & Technologies GTI & CRI Catalytic hydropyrolysis Active since 2019
India MASH Makes modular pyrolysis unit MASH Makes MASH Makes (DTU) pyrolysis Active since 2023
India Reliance RCAT-HTL process Reliance Industries Ltd Reliance Industries Ltd Catalytic hydrothermal Liquefaction


Active since 2016
Norway Silva Green Fuel demo plant Silva Green Fuel Steeper Energy Hydrothermal liquefaction Active since 2021
Turkey Altaca Energy facility Altaca Energy Altaca Energy (SCF Technologies) Catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction Active since 2011
USA Biogas Energy project Biogas Energy Ltd Bioenergy Concept Fast pyrolysis Active since 2021
USA Bio-TCatTM pilot plant Annelotech Annelotech (Bio-TCatTM) Fast pyrolysis Active since 2018
USA RTI Development facility RTI International RTI International Catalytic fast pyrolysis Active since 2013
USA Stine pyrolysis project Frontline BioEnergy & Stine Iowa State University (ATP) Autothermal pyrolysis


Under development