LNEG is one of the main state laboratories in Europe and the only one in Portugal, working on the studies aiming at implementation of advanced biofuels in the large scale. In a short/medium term, biofuels are expected to be complementary contribution to electric mobility to achieve a low carbon transport economy. A conservative forecast of the SGAB European Forum estimates that by 2030 about 12-15% of all fossil fuels used in the European transport sector could be replaced by a combination of current biofuels, advanced biofuels, renewable alternative fuels and fossil fuels but with low carbon footprint. Hence, Unit of Bioenergy and Biorefineries of LNEG carries out its main activities in the area of research, development and implementation of more sustainable technologies characterised by reduced carbon footprint. The technology development performed by LNEG takes into consideration the implementation of more sustainable technologies involving the biorefinery concept as the most sustainable manner of use of renewable endogenous biomass resources.
The main research activities are:
Liquid biofuels – development study and consultancy service for the implementation of advanced bioethanol and other liquid biofuels (e.g. long-chain fatty acids, long chain fatty alcohols, furans, etc.), substitutes for diesel and fossil fuels currently used in shipping and aviation.
Gaseous biofuels – development study and consultancy service for the implementation of biomethane and renewable hydrogen production units with a focus on long-distance road haulage and long-distance maritime transport.
Alternative fuels from renewable sources (e-fuels) – The CO2 sequestration from the environment or industries producing or using fossil fuels coupled with a renewable hydrogen source (by water electrolysis or by biomass gasification) produces liquid fuels (e.g. methanol, dimethyl ether) or gaseous (methane). These emerging technologies are one of the European priorities for replacing current fossil fuels.
Low Carbon Fossil Fuels – Industrial wastes derived from petroleum, e.g. polyurethane type, used tires, non-biogenic CO2 emissions can be converted into liquid or gaseous fuels via pyrolysis or other thermo-/bio- or chemical conversion technologies.