To be able to start large-scale commercial domestic production of aviation biofuel the right conditions must be in place. TreePower will therefore base its work on five building blocks which are the foundation for the entire project: raw materials, technology, energy, localisation and market. At the close of the project all of the building blocks will be in place for final delivery of a business case for large-scale commercial domestic production of aviation biofuel.
TreePower will develop aviation biofuel based on residual forest raw materials from Norrbotten. The first step is to determine how much biomass is available from sawmills and pulp-and-paper mills, and the commercial availability of forest biomass residues (branches, roots and treetops) and other biomass that is often left in the forest. We also investigate the possibilities for transferring biomass between different application areas and locations, and how potential new actors on the market impact future demand. In this way, the project will survey the future market access to local raw materials for aviation biofuel.
TreePower assesses how large-scale use of biomass to produce aviation biofuel influences the energy balance, principally from a regional thermal-energy perspective. This means that we consider how industries and the municipal sector – which already use biomass e.g., for generating electricity and heat – would be affected if forest biomass were to be used for large-scale production of aviation biofuel. Among other things, research into how biomass used in these operations cam be replaced with energy from other sources. To free more biomass for alternative usages, improvement in energy efficiency in all of its forms is an important tool for reaching the objective.
There are now several methods for manufacturing aviation biofuel from forest residues. TreePower will survey the commercial technologies that are now on the market and assess them from a holistic perspective. In addition to various scenarios for raw-materials flows, consideration will be given to side streams and any other resources that can be freed to replace biomass in other parts of the system.
Based on a hypothesis for raw materials, energy and technology, TreePower is assessing the most appropriate location for a biorefinery for manufacturing aviation biofuel in Norrbotten. Possible limitations in terms of land use, local planning and environmental concerns are being considered, as are the possibilities for deliveries of raw materials and energy to the respective locations.
In addition to the technology-related aspects, TreePower is considering the conditions for commercial production of aviation biofuel in a broader context. By analysing the starting points and possible scenarios for market, policy and regulatory frameworks, possible changes in regulations that will be necessary to enable the start of production, as well as risks and obstacles, will be identified.
In all of the earlier stages, we will move from possible scenarios to probable scenarios, and package all of the information and knowledge we have gathered to build a “business case” in which we will elucidate practical and commercial prerequisites. We will also present arguments as to the political decisions that can support a transition to fossil-free domestic air travel by 2030.