Power of 10 | Stiesdal scales up zero-carbon fuel bid with new ‘stepping stone’ plant in Denmark

Commercial green-fuel production based on a ‘carbon negative’ pyrolysis process that turns agricultural waste into green gas and biochar is on track to begin next year, following start-up today (Monday) of a new ‘stepping stone’ demonstrator plant in the west of Denmark.

Developed by energy pioneer Henrik Stiesdal’s outfit Stiesdal Fuel Technologies (SFT), the 2MW SkyClean facility is ten-times larger than the original pilot, brought online just seven months ago at GreenLab, a green business park in Skive in Jutland region.

“When we inaugurated the first 200kW SkyClean test facility, we described it as an important stepping stone for a ten-times larger plant,” said Stiesdal. “Similarly, the new plant at GreenLab is an important stepping stone in the preparations for our first commercial plant, which, with a power of 20MW, will be ten-times larger [still].”

The 20MW plant, he added, was expected to be operational “sometime next year”.

SkyClean plants are based on an oxygen-less pyrolysis technology that uses agricultural waste as feedstock and delivers both biochar and fuel which – as Recharge has previously reported is chemically identical to the A-1 jet fuel currently used by airlines but is produced via a process that actually removes carbon from the atmosphere.

Stiesdal Fuel Technologies’ pilot green-fuel plant Photo: Stiesdal

This means the more SkyClean fuel is burned, the more CO2 is removed from the air. Other green aviation fuels being developed – biofuels and synthetic “e-fuels” made from green hydrogen combined with captured CO2 – are only carbon-neutral, neither adding to nor reducing overall CO2 levels.

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Experts from the Danish Technical University and Aarhus University have calculated that the agriculture industry could halve its greenhouse gas emissions using the SkyClean technology, with the 2MW nameplate plant at GreenLab aiming to offset emissions equivalent to 5,000 tons of CO2 a year.

Peder Riis Nickelsen, CEO of SFT, said: “Biochar can be used as fertiliser and soil improvement, while providing an effective and low-tech solution to the problem of capturing and storing CO2.

“We are convinced that SkyClean represents a new break for both the environment and agriculture, and we are convinced that the technology will be a win for agriculture.”

The gas produced from the new SkyClean demonstrator in Skive will initially be used for heating at neighbouring companies on GreenLab, with plans to later use it for the production of climate-neutral aviation fuel.

The inauguration was attended by Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and its ministers for climate, energy and utilities, Dan Jørgensen, and food, agriculture and fisheries, Rasmus Prehn.

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