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Sweden’s forests “can fuel air travel”

Swedish researchers are seeking funding for the second phase of a forest-yielding biofuel project.

Researchers at a Swedish university are seeking SEK 150 million (€14.5 million) in funding over a two-year period to carry out the second phase of a project to make biofuels out of forest residues.

They say that this could replace fossil fuels on flights in Sweden, and they now want to demonstrate the technology as soon as possible.

The next stage is to demonstrate the project’s feasibility by producing fuel in enough quantities to complete commercial domestic flights.

The initial breakthrough last month, by Luleå University of Technology in collaboration with Sweden’s Environmental Research Institute, showed that biomass gasification combined with a liquefaction process could sustainably and affordably produce aviation biofuel from forestry raw materials, The Local reports.

Biofuel self-sufficient
The scientists say that Sweden could become self-sufficient in biofuel production for domestic flights and could eventually also fuel international flights.

This is especially the case as the country has a highly developed forest industry that would produce the raw materials efficiently and with reasonable production costs.

“We have found a solution where the fuel used for Swedish domestic flights today can be replaced by biofuel produced from Swedish forestry raw materials in the near future,” said the university’s Fredrik Granberg.

“We know that there are production technologies that work, and we know that the Swedish forest industry can potentially supply forest residues in large quantities,” he added.

“The potential is theoretically more than large enough to sustainably produce biofuel for both domestic and international flights in Sweden.”

He concluded: “There must be a willingness to start work on technology demonstration of green aviation fuel from forest residues already as it takes five to ten years to get to the third stage in the development chain: a first large-scale facility for commercial production.”

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