New Publication – Commercial status of direct thermochemical liquefaction technologies

Sep 2020

Direct thermochemical liquefaction (DTL) of biomass is an important pathway to bioenergy and biochemical production in the circular economy. This report, prepared by IEA Bioenergy Task 34, covers current commercial activity, near-to market activities (e.g. demonstration plants) and some recently decommissioned near-to market plants.

Brief details of 10 commercial and 10 demonstration scale DTL plants that are either operational or late stage development, spread across 11 countries, are provided. The commercial-scale plants are mostly (9) pyrolysis technologies while the demo operations are a mixture of fast pyrolysis (6) and hydrothermal liquefaction (4). Wood and forest residues are the feedstock of choice for all the commercial plants. The bio oils produced are sold as fuel for heating or for co-processing in petroleum refineries. In most cases, co-products such as electricity, syngas and chemicals are also produced that improve both plant economics and biomass conversion efficiency.

The demonstration-scale activities show continued demand for fast pyrolysis plants and growing interest in hydrothermal liquefaction technologies. More diversified feedstocks such as agricultural and urban waste and sewage sludge are targeted with recent interest in non-bio feedstocks such as waste plastics and used tyres.

The mentioned commercial and demonstration plants are also include in the IEA Bioenergy Facilities database: