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The CLARA project – Chemical Looping Gasification for Sustainable Production of Biofuels

The aim of CLARA is to develop a concept for the production of biofuels based on chemical looping gasification of biogenic residues

Sustainable biofuel is at the forefront in present times.  In light of the current challenges in terms of climate protection and energy transition, novel, sustainable and yet competitive processes and technologies in the energy, transport, and industry sector are urgently needed. Chemical looping gasification is an innovative technology for cost-efficient conversion of biomass into a high calorific value syngas that can be flexibly utilized for the production of liquid fuels or electricity.

CLARA Sustainable Production of Biofuels

Objectives of the project

Within the scope of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project CLARA, consisting of thirteen international partners including universities, research institutes, and industry partners, an efficient process for the production of liquid fuels based on chemical looping gasification (CLG) of biogenic residues is being developed. The major objective is to further investigate and test CLG up to 1 MWth scale in an industrially relevant environment. Furthermore, the project aims at devising and optimizing innovative, cost-efficient technologies for biomass pre-treatment and syngas cleaning. These novel process steps will be supplemented by established fuel synthesis technologies (i.e. Fischer-Tropsch process & hydrocracking), yielding the full biomass-to-biofuel process chain, which will be investigated during pilot tests.

Advantages of the process

The major advantage of the suggested process is that through the cyclic reduction and oxidation of the oxygen carrier deployed in CLG, no air separation unit (ASU), commonly needed for oxygen-driven gasification processes, is required. Moreover, a novel combination of an amine and caustic wash, promising major reductions in CAPEX and OPEX when compared to the established Rectisol® process, is deployed for acid gas removal.

Sustainability

By focusing on biological non-food-grade precursors, CLARA contributes not only to a sustainable shifting from fossil to renewable resources, but also facilitates the large-scale economic production of biofuels, without detrimental effects on food availability and prices arising. This aspect, in combination with the projected advances in terms of process scalability, CO2-reduction potential (negative emission via BECCS/U) and low biofuel costs (no ASU & novel syngas cleaning concept), makes the technology investigated within the scope of CLARA an auspicious candidate for future biofuel production processes.

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