Dutch biomass technology company BTG has partnered with GoodFuels to invest in a new biorefinery to produce sustainable biofuel for the shipping sector.

When built, the refinery will be the first to develop advanced marine biofuel based on pyrolysis oil. To be operated by a new company named BTG-neXt, the first phase of the new facility will focus on building a pilot refinery to convert pyrolysis oil into 100% sustainable marine biodiesel for ships.

The ports of Rotterdam and Eemshaven are being considered as the locations for the first commercial processing plant.

BTG CEO René Venendaal said: “This initial capacity is sufficient to demonstrate that the technology works and will serve as a basis for further scaling up our operations. We are now working on a more precise estimate of that figure.”

According to Venendaal, the pilot plant will need a six-figure investment.

“We are now working on a more precise estimate of that figure.”

GoodFuels plans to market the volumes produced at the pilot plant

The first phase will demonstrate whether continuous production is feasible. Produced from biomass-based residues such as sawdust and roadside grass cuttings, pyrolysis oil is expected to be a sustainable alternative to replace fossil fuels.

The new demonstration facility has been planned to have a production capacity of just 1,000 tonnes of advanced marine fuel per year.

If the plant is successful, then plans to scale up the facility are in place, to support the industry in meeting International Maritime Organisation (IMO) targets of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To further strengthen the commercial business case, GoodFuels plans to market the volumes produced at the pilot plant.

GoodFuels CEO Dirk Kronemijer said: “Over the last five years, GoodFuels has laid out a clear pathway for the use of biofuels in the shipping sector. Together with partners such as Boskalis Loodswezen, Port of Rotterdam, Norden, Jan de Nul and its portfolio of GoodShipping A-Brand clients we have shown that these fuels will play an essential role in making shipping more sustainable.

“Crucially, the next step is to scale up the processes without making any concessions in terms of the sustainability of the feedstocks used. BTG’s initiative meets all the success criteria, and we are very proud to work together with BTG to introduce this highly significant innovative technology in the Netherlands.”