The transition towards climate neutrality by 2050 is one of the main themes in the agenda of the European Union and its member states. To reach this target, the European Union aims at increasing the share of renewable energy sources in both heat, electricity and transport use.

Bioenergy will play an ever increasingly role in this transition but further improvements in conversion technologies and biomass supply chain management are required to reduce the bioenergy/biofuel production costs and boost the market uptake of advanced biofuels and bioenergy in replacement of fossil fuel alternatives.

Project description

The newly launched Project FlexSNG is a Horizon 2020 project entitled “Flexible Production of Synthetic Natural Gas and Biochar via Gasification of Biomass and Waste Feedstocks”. FlexSNG aims at solving this issue by developing a cost-effective gasification-based process for flexible production of pipeline-quality biomethane, high-value biochar and renewable heat from a wide variety of low-quality biomass residues and biogenic waste feedstocks. The combination of feedstock supply chain optimization and new technology innovations leads to significant cost reductions that allow lowering biomethane production costs by more than 30% compared to state-of-the- art biomass-to-SNG technologies. The medium-scale conversion units of 50-150 MW biomass/waste input facilitate the use of local biomass residues and biogenic waste fractions without heavy transport logistics. The key innovative technology at the core of the FlexSNG concept is the flexible gasification process that can switch between two operation modes according to market signals or feedstock availability and price:

  1. Co-production of biomethane, biochar and heat
  2. Maximised production of biomethane and heat

Optimization of feedstock supply chain

As feedstock costs often account for more than half of the biofuel production costs, FlexSNG aims at demonstrating 20% reduction in feedstock supply costs throughout the optimization of the feedstock supply chain. The objective is to develop and tailor cost-effective feedstock supply chains for the new gasification process to enable secure, long-term supply of sustainable biomass/waste feedstocks with 20% reduction in feedstock supply costs. To reach this target, low-cost methods for feedstock harvesting/collection, pre-processing, storage and handling will be evaluated and defined for the targeted feedstocks. Moreover, optimization models will be established and used to optimize the logistics operations along the entire feedstock value chain.

Project partners

The project consortium has put together 12 partners from 8 countries with expertise in feedstock supply chain management, gasification and gas clean-up, methanation, biofuel technologies and energy processes, environmental and social sustainability, legislative analysis, communication and dissemination as well as business development for innovative technologies.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 101022432 and the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ).

This project was done in collaboration with: