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April 19, 2013

Air Liquide to develop new combustion technology for 2nd generation biofuels

Gerald Ondrey

Air Liquide (Paris, France; has signed a partnership agreement with the CEA (Commission for atomic energy and alternative energies in France) aiming to develop a second-generation biofuel-production pilot unit in France.

As part of this partnership, the CEA will develop a chain of processes — on the Bure (Meuse) - Saudron (Haute-Marne) site, and in the CEA-Grenoble center — for grinding, pressurizing, measuring, and transporting solid biomass (wood in particular) in order to inject it into a burner, with a view to minimizing the energy used for this pre-processing.

For this project, Air Liquide will develop a new combustion technology that uses a burner running on oxygen instead of air. This pressurized, high-temperature oxygen combustion will make it possible to transform solid biomass directly into synthesis gas.

The synthesis gas made by this process can then be processed to ultimately produce an extremely pure and energy-efficient synthesis fuel.

All of the R&D work related to pressurized combustion with oxygen will be carried out in Air Liquide's Research Centers in Paris Saclay (France), Frankfurt am Main (Germany), and Newark (Delaware), as well as in partnership with international research institutes.

This work will contribute to the eventual emergence of a new sector for creating value from this biomass through second-generation biofuels.

As part of its policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, the E.U. has set an objective of 20% of renewable energies used within the European Community by 2020. Unlike first-generation biofuels, second-generation biofuels use agricultural and forestry waste, without competing with food usage.



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