Pyrolysis Oil Market

Global Industry Analysis (2017 – 2020) – Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2021 – 2025)


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Pyrolysis Oil Gains Prominence as Biofuels Continue to See Growing Preference in Line with Global Sustainability Drive

With the unprecedentedly growing energy demand worldwide, it remains a fact that around 85% of the need is still met through conventional fossil fuel-based resources such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. However, with the aggravating challenges of rapidly depleting conventional energy resources, it becomes imperative to accelerate a shift towards an enduring, affordable, sustainable, and more dependable energy system. The global sustainability drive has been highlighting the significance of renewables for a safer, decarbonised future of the world. The clean energy is being increasingly proposed as a paramount, globally, which is well supported by the regulatory efforts taken by the various governments from across the world. With waste to energy projects gathering momentum, bio-oils such as pyrolysis oil are gaining prominence, creating a sizeable market in the global biofuels landscape. The global pyrolysis oil market is likely to expand progressively over the foreseeable future.

Pyrolysis Oil Presents a Promising Bio-oil Alternative

As the world grapples with increasing amounts of waste, many stakeholders are looking for new ways to treat and dispose of solid waste, which includes a bewildering variety of plastic, tyre, and composite materials. There is renewed interest in gasification, and pyrolysis to dramatically reduce waste volumes while producing energy. Lignocellulosic biomass could be considered a reasonable option to replace the use of non-renewable resources, reducing CO2 emissions (approximately 23% of energy needs are supplied by biomass). Fast pyrolysis is one of the promising routes to convert a variety of wastes into valuable products, including solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels.

The fuel properties of pyrolysis oil from different feedstock i.e., tire, plastic, and biomass are interesting. The tyre, and plastic oil have a calorific value near to diesel fuel. The tire oil has the maximum carbon content, whereas the maximum hydrogen content is found in the plastic pyrolysis oil. Although the oxygen content of plastic pyrolysis oil is notably low, the content is the maximum in case of biomass pyrolysis oil. Sulphur content of the typical biomass oil is less than 0.05%, while it is less than, or equal to 1 in case of tire pyrolysis oil. The density of tyre, and plastic pyrolysis oils is nearly equal to diesel fuel, while it was slightly high in case of biomass pyrolysis oil. Viscosity, and flash point are also nearly equivalent to that of diesel.

Pyrolysis: A Sustainable Way from Waste to Energy

A wide range of materials can be handled by pyrolysis; however, the yields of bio-oil are often source-dependent. Pyrolysis, an irreversible process, involves the change of physical phase and chemical composition. The bio-oil produced from pyrolysis is similar to other energy alternatives but the lifecycle of the oil greener than other substitutes - 70-90% lower greenhouse has (GHG) emissions, SOx emissions - similar to natural gas.

Pyrolysis oil, a high-energy blend of hydrocarbons, is widely used as an industrial fuel to substitute furnace oil, or industrial diesel, and further has the potential to be used in heavy industries as well. The fuel oil is mainly used in machines that do not require high-quality oil, predominantly for applications in construction, hotel heating, and glass/steel/cement/boiler factory. It can also be used for automobiles with low-speed engines such as digging machines, road rollers, and loading machines. The bio-oil can also be used as a source of useful chemicals as it contains valuable substituted phenols, and aromatics that can potentially be separated and sold at a significant premium over fuel. Nevertheless, the oil requires some modifications for the concerned equipment to allow its use in smaller generators, and combustion engines. It can be potentially blended with biodiesels, and other fuels.

Adoption Sees an Uptick, with Growing Need to Reduce Dependence on Conventional Energy Alternatives

Fast pyrolysis came to the attention of the biofuel community because it produces high yields of liquid product called bio-oil. The process relies on high temperatures, and short residency times. It is a simple, inexpensive technology for processing a wide variety of feedstocks. The construction of a pyrolysis power plant is a relatively rapid process, and has the potential to reduce the country’s dependence on imported energy resources by generating energy from domestic resources. It reduces GHG emissions, and waste volumes going to landfills. Waste management with the help of modern pyrolysis technology is inexpensive than disposal to landfills. It reduces the risk of water pollution. It creates several new jobs for low-income people based on the quantities of waste generated in the region, which in turn provides public health benefits through waste clean-up.

Challenges Prevail in front of Bio-oil Producers

Yet, bio-oil is not stable as conventional fuels, for they are highly oxygenated compounds (more difficult to ignite, and higher temperatures are required at the end of the compression stage to achieve complete combustion). High density, high viscosity (lubrication is poor and small particles (< 20 um) might be present), low pH (is acidic and therefore all piping and devices in contact with pyrolysis oil should be corrosion resistant), and low heating value (half the value of diesel) of bio-oils present relatively complicated requisites. Due to their CO2-neutral, no-SOx, and low-NOx nature, bio-oils can be combusted directly in boilers, gas turbines, and slow- and medium-speed diesels for heat, and power applications. Oil from waste pyrolysis process requires further treatment to ensure its stability, and compatibility with existing petroleum-based fuels.

Pyrolysis Oil Rapidly Emerges as an Alternate Fuel for Future

The value of oil generated by the pyrolysis process is set to soar in the next decade as its value as a circular commodity begins to be fully appreciated. Bio-oil is competitively priced with fuel oil in many markets. The markets for biomass pyrolysis products are emerging, particularly in Asia, Europe (policy-driven development of biofuels markets in the EU), Canada, and California. However, it is unclear whether or not the size of the markets and the rate of growth will be enough to drive widespread adoption of the pyrolysis technology.

Biofuel volumes mandated in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and European Green Deal, Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources are the primary driving forces behind the surging adoption of pyrolysis oil (pyoil) as an alternative fuel for transportation. The production, storage, transportation, and use of various biofuels is governed by a range of international standards such as American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), European Committee for Standardization CEN, International Organization for Standardization ISO TC/28 SC/7, and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Major Pyrolysis Oil Producers

Some of the key companies in the global pyrolysis oil market are Advanced Fuel Research, Inc., Air Products, Anellotech, BTG Bioliquids, Charm Industrial, Chevron Phillips Chemical, ETIA, Energy & Waste S.l., Ensyn, H2 Energy Bio-Refinery, Klean Industries Inc., Niutech Environment Technology Corporation, Plasma arc, Pyrocrat Systems, TechnipFMC, Metso Outotec System, and Honeywell UOP (formerly UOP LLC).

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