Thermal Belt Demonstrator Facility

Submitted by StephBonehill on Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:02

The Thermo-Catalytic Reforming (TCR®) demonstrator at the Tyseley Energy Park (TEP), Birmingham, converts bio-waste to energy in an innovative and effective way. The technology, developed by Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Germany, converts waste biomass such as sludge, sewage and solid waste to fuels. The TEP draws together a range of different energy technologies to act as an energy and waste hub for the city of Birmingham, showing how innovative low-carbon energy technologies can be used to support industrial and domestic energy users. 
The TCR® demonstrator can process up to 80kg of biowaste per hour and has three outputs

  • Hydrogen rich synthesis gas used to fuel engines, separate H2 or purification for H2 fuel cells. 
  • Bio-oil – which can be upgraded and fractionated into a diesel, gasoline or jet A1 equivalent fuel.
  • Bio-char – which is the solid residue left behind after the process and is ideally suited as solid fuel in gasifiers, boilers and combustors

This unit will be fully integrated with a larger scale plant for the ultimate production of sustainable aviation fuels. This will support a large EU funded project (€10m flex JET) to successfully deliver renewable fuels by 2022. The TCR® process offers significant advantages over other technologies for the conversion of waste to energy in support of off-grid rural communities, forests, islands and for the carbon free production of aviation fuel. The most immediate future technology area for the TCR®  project team to focus on the short-term are the challenges associated with the flexJET project, through which the University of Birmingham is a key academic partner. The innovative flexJET project uses a diverse range of organic waste feedstocks for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production. The process offers better economics and improved overall sustainability by processing waste feedstocks near the source and at a scale that matches waste availability. This is the first technology ever to use green hydrogen from waste feedstock for refining, thereby maximising greenhouse gas savings. This project provides clear technical and economic validation, by building a demonstration plant at pre-commercial scale to deliver high quality SAF. The TCR® at Tyseley has developed materials and the necessary infrastructure in support of this pre-commercial plant – scaling the technology up to TRL 7/8. The flexJET project will subsequently construct this plant, capable of delivering 1200 tonnes of aviation grade fuel, on the site of project partner Green Fuels Ltd in Berkeley, Gloucester within the next 2-3 years.


Thermo-catalytic reforming demonstrator
aviation fuel



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