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Sustainable marine fuel refinery to be built in Denmark with Canadian partner Steeper Energy


FREDERIKSHAVN, Denmark–The Port of Frederikshavn, Steeper Energy, and Aalborg University are partnering to establish the world’s first biomass-based plant in Denmark to produce a sustainable sulphur-free marine fuel.

The Danish Minister for Trade and European Affairs Nick Hækkerup said the new partnership “is a great example of a public-private partnership with a huge potential both for the environment and job creation. I am very satisfied that a Canadian company like Steeper taps into the strong Danish bioenergy cluster cooperating with Aalborg University on the development of new sustainable energy solutions. The Port of Frederikshavn will be the perfect setting for the planned production plant.”

As a result of Sox Emission Control Areas (SECA) coming into effect on January 1, 2015, regions will reduce the permissible sulphur content in marine fuel to zero, forcing fleet operators to install flue gas cleaning equipment on board, or switch to a sulphur-free fuel. This corresponds to annual expenditure increases of several hundred million Euros, said the release.

Port of Frederikshavn CEO Mikkel Seedorf Sørensen said the port could potentially serve an annual marine fuel market of at least 900,000 tons.

“This will not only be significant for the future customers to the sustainable marine fuel, but will also create jobs and bring more traffic into the port,” he said, noting that the new fuel will be a drop-in fuel, able to mix into what may be in the tanks already.

The size of the plant is initially set at around 50-100,000 tons fuel annually. To produce this, some two to three times as much wood will be sourced.

Aalborg University will carry out a longer term research efforts on mixing in locally sourced feedstocks to ensure product quality and operating conditions before implementing this in full scale.

“Although the project will be established on a single feedstock, the plant design will accommodate the results of the research at Aalborg University. By building a solid business case on wood, we can focus on establishing a well-functioning plant delivering a sustainable marine biofuel. Once this has been achieved, we can consider extending the input range as well as considering a wider product portfolio,” says CTO of Steeper Energy, Steen B. Iversen.

With its lab-demonstrated flexibility and efficiency, the hydrothermal liquefaction technology is a good candidate for a resource efficient way of utilizing limited global biomass resource. “In the long term it will not only contribute to providing sustainable fuels to the transport sector, but also to production of valuable platform chemicals previously produced from fossil sources,” said Lasse Rosendahl.