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FAQs - What you always wanted to know about bioliq®

How does the bioliq® process work?

In the bioliq® process a thermo-chemical degradation of biomass takes place. During this process hydrogen and carbon monoxide as the smallest chemical building blocks are generated. These products can then be assembled to clean fuels and other chemical platform molecules by means of chemical catalysts.

Why is the bioliq® concept so special?

The bioliq® process has been developed to use mainly residual biomass from agriculture and forestry. Because of this, the bioliq® process is split-up into two parts: The pretreatment of the biomass to produce the energy-rich biosyncrude in a decentralized step. The following refining process of the biosyncrude takes place in centralized large-scale plants.

What is Biosyncrude?

Biosyncrude is generated by the decentralized conversion of biomass via fast pyrolysis. At 500 °C the biomass is converted into pyrolysis oil and pyrolysis char. The char is mixed with the oil to form a liquid energy mixture, the biosyncrude. The energy of the biosyncrude is densified by a factor of 10 to 15 compared to the biomass. The heating value of the biosyncrude can be up to 25 MJ/kg (similar to coal).

What is synthesis gas?

In the large-scale plants biosyncrude is converted into synthesis gas at temperatures far beyond 1000°C. Hydrogen and carbon monoxide are produced at a ratio of about 1:1. The high temperatures are reached by addition of oxygen. Particles and disturbing trace substances (HCl, H2S…) are removed from the synthesis gas by gas cleaning and gas conditioning.

Which products can be generated by the bioliq® process in general?

All important types of fuels used for transportation (diesel, petrol, kerosene) and many platform chemicals can be produced from synthesis gas.

Which product is generated by the bioliq® process in the new pilot plant?

In a modified form of the methanol-to-gasoline process the synthesis gas is converted first into dimethylether (DME). This has thermodynamic and technical advantages. Subsequently, DME is converted into high-octane fuel.

Which process steps does the bioliq® process consist of?

  • Biomass production and supply
  • Comminution of the biomass
  • Fast pyrolysis
  • Biosyncrude production
  • High-pressure entrained-flow gasification
  • High-temperature gas cleaning and conditioning
  • Fuel synthesis

How does bioliq® help to meet the climate protection goals?

The European Community measures the value of a biofuel by the amount of fossil based CO2 saved during biofuel production and use. Over the complete process chain - from the fields to the wheel - more than 80 % CO2 are saved by the bioliq® process.

Who funds the bioliq® development?

The bioliq® pilotplant  is financed from funds of the BMEL (Federal Minsitry of Food and Agriculture), the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the European Union. Construction and operation of each process step is supported by industry partners. The operation of the complete pilot plant at KIT is financed under the program-oriented research scheme of the Helmholtz Association.

To what an extend is the bioliq® fuel compatible with other fuels and vehicle engines?

The fuels generated by the bioliq® process are fully compatible with conventional fuels and fully applicable to modern engine technology. Chemical synthesis of the bioliq process allows for the future production of high-performance fuel components which already exhibit a better emission and consumption behaviour when blended with conventional fuels.

What kind of raw materials can be used in the bioliq® process?

All kinds of dry biomass with typically less than 15% water content and especially those with high ash contents like straw and other fast-growing plants.

How much energy of the biomass finally ends up in the car's tank ?

One third of the energy contained in the biomass ends up in the tank, the remainder is used in the form of heat and electrical power to cover the energy demand of the whole process. In this way, the high CO2 reduction potential is reached.

How much straw is needed to produce 1 kg bioliq® fuel?

Depending on the type of biomass used. 8 - 10 kg are needed for producing 1 kg of fuel!

Which advantages does bioliq® have in comparison to today's biofuels?

  • Wide raw material spectrum
  • Use of biogenous residues does not compete with food production and land use
  • Existing filling stations and distribution system can be further used
  • No change in automotive engineering necessary
  • No change of the driving customs necessary
  • Covering of a large variety of fuel types
  • Fuels (“designer fuels”) can be tailored to the needs of advanced types of engines

What is the task of the bioliq® pilot plant in Karlsruhe?

The bioliq® pilot plant helps to determine mass and energy balances, learn the operating procedures and to prove practical suitability, feedstock flexibility and so on. A team of engineers, mechanics and electricians works to run the pilot plant 1000 hours/p. a.

How can agriculture and forestry profit from bioliq®?

Agriculture and forestry can profit from the decentralized process step. Agriculture and forestry are not only producers and suppliers of the biomass residues, they can also participate in the added value. Please see the following website:


Where do I obtain further information on bioliq®?


What will commercial realization be like later on?

The commercial realization will mostly depends on the development of markets and infrastructure. Different concepts are feasible, e. g. integration of the bioliq® process into biorefinery concepts.

When will the bioliq® fuel be available?

It already is available, but for research purposes. The fuel still remains to be produced in larger quantities for application tests, and characterized according to the fuel standards before it can be used.

How much of the fuel consumption can be covered by bioliq®?

Fuels from biomass have a great potential: In the medium and long term they can significantly contribute to an efficient mix of renewable energies and replace parts of our fossil energy sources.



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