The SynFuel project is a collaborative initiative between two research institutes, PSI and Empa. This initiative aims to advance process technologies for various synthetic fuel production pathways, including electrochemical CO2 reduction, thermochemical biomass conversion, and other methods. To potentially achieve carbon-neutrality, CO2 from biomass or captured from the atmosphere is used in the process.

Figure 1. Various routes for jet fuel production.

In this project, the CPE group is involved in the hydrothermal biomass conversion to jet fuels. In particular, in partnership with LBK-ACS, we endeavor to generate a superior "biocrude" through the hydrothermal liquefaction of wood, specifically sawdust, in the presence of hydrogen. The primary objective is to create a biocrude characterized by enhanced chemical stability, a 50 % reduction in oxygen content, and a greater proportion of volatile compounds with boiling points below 350 °C. For that, we use a batch reactor heated by a fluidized sand bed and, in the final stage, a Konti-C continuous test rig (fixed bed reactor) in the HTL mode (Figure 2). The products are analyzed via HRGC-MS, LC-HRMS and CHNS(O).

Figure 2. Scheme of the HTL version of the Konti-C test rig.