World's first large energy installation based on pyrolysis oil from wood residues

From 2014, the University of Twente will be generating half of its electricity and heat supplies from 100% climate neutral ‘pyrolysis oil’ extracted from wood residues. A yet-to-be-built factory in Hengelo will be producing this new sustainable oil from clean wood residues on a large scale. This innovative technology was created at the University of Twente; the company BTG in Enschede has developed it further and will be producing the ‘green oil’ on a large scale. The province of Overijssel will be investing €3 million in the development of the factory in Hengelo, to be called ‘Empyro’. The gas turbine which is to generate large quantities of electricity and heat from the pure pyrolysis oil will be delivered by the company OPRA. OPRA and the University of Twente will jointly modify the turbine for use with the green oil. The heat and electricity from the plant will have an efficiency of approximately 90%.

On Wednesday 22 February 2012 (see attached programme), the province of Overijssel, BTG and the University of Twente will sign documents enabling the construction of the pyrolysis factory in Hengelo and climate-neutral energy supplies on the University of Twente campus. The province of Overijssel and the municipalities of Hengelo and Enschede will be granting the requisite environmental and building permits, and the University of Twente will be signing a Letter of Intent for the energy supplies on its campus.

The Empyro factory in Hengelo, which should be ready by the end of 2013, will be able to process 200 tons of wood residues per day, producing 22,500 tons of green oil per year in the process. This is sufficient to supply around 8,000 households with heat. The construction of the factory means that the production of pyrolysis oil has definitely outgrown the laboratory. BTG’s factory will be relatively simple to expand if greater capacity is required at a later date.

Advantages of green oil

The biggest advantage of the climate-neutral oil from wood residues over wind and solar energy is that pyrolysis oil can be stored and transported easily. One and a half years ago, it was world news when it became apparent that this green oil was suitable for mixing in existing refineries for the production of green diesel, petrol and kerosene. The use of pyrolysis oil as 100% green energy source for houses and buildings is a significant new practical application. The wood residues from which the oil is made do not compete with the food chain.

Green key technology

The company BTG has already won a prize for the most innovative project in Overijssel. Employment in the bio-energy sector in the province of Overijssel has doubled in recent years. The pyrolysis technology alone is expected to lead to 300 extra jobs in the region.

This spring, BTG and interested customers, including Dutch power companies and the industrial sector, will be submitting a request to the Dutch government to make the conversion of the pyrolysis oil into energy more attractive for users.

Note to the press

For more information: Marcel Hammink (UT) +31 (0)6 5321 3917, Karin Obdeijn (Province of Overijssel) +31 (0)38 499 9242, René Venendaal (BTG) +31 (0)53 486 1186.