Using Pyrolysis Oil, a 2nd Generation Biomass to Liquid Advanced Biofuel, for Transport in the Netherlands

Context of Transport Climate Action

CO2-emissions reduction from transport can be sustainably addressed by using pyrolysis oil for transport. This 2nd generation advanced biofuel can be utilized in heavy-duty transport vehicles (HDV), shipping and as jet fuel.


Pyrolysis oil can be produced from residue biomass (non food related feedstock).

Crude pyrolysis oil can be co-fed in existing oil refineries to green the production of present transport fuels. Upgraded pyrolysis oil can be used directly as transport fuels (road, shipping, air).

The typical production from a plant is 20 million liters of crude pyrolysis per year, the CO2-reduction compared to fossil fuels is 29,000 tonnes CO2-eq/year.

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The factory for the production of crude pyrolysis oil was constructed in the Netherlands in 2014 and has been in operation since 2015.


The first commercial plant for producing crude pyrolysis oil became operational (2015). More units are foreseen to be constructed over the next few years. First demonstration of pyrolysis oils as transport fuels is foreseen for 2017-2020. Commercial units for transport fuels are foreseen for 2020-2030.

Implementing organizations are a Private-Public Partnership between Dutch companies BTG-BTL (biomass to liquid) and BTG together with other biomass owners (cooperatives, industries), pyrolysis oil users (industry, municipalities), investors, and governments.




The carbon gains in ‘well to wheel’ reduction of CO2 are close to 50%. The potential CO2-reduction of 10% co-feeding into existing refineries for the production of transport fuel is estimated at 170 million tonnes CO2/year.

It is quite feasible to introduce many more pyrolysis crude oil production plants to be able to replace 10% of fossil crude oil. in Europe. This would also create several thousand new jobs across Europe.

From earlier research carried out be the Department of the Environment in the USA, the cost of the production of 1 liter of biofuel with improved processes will only be about 0.50 USD $ by 2017, which would generate not only environmental benefits but also cost savings when compared to the production of transport fuels from 100% fossil fuel.



Potential for scaling up

Scaling up is foreseen in a step-by-step approach together with owners of biomass residues, industry, investors and public stakeholders. A common goal is to establish pyrolysis oil as a commodity. However finance is required for continuing this innovation supported by public-private partnerships. The commercial roll-out will be financed mainly by private parties, but this must be encouraged by clear policy-led targets for the use and adoption of advanced biofuels.

A present lack of obligation for the industry to switch to bio fuel, or to significantly lower CO2 from transport (for example by setting a price for every reduced tonne of CO2), is a major challenge, delaying wide-spread implementation. The commercial loans/debt finance that is required for the first and highly innovative production facilities is also difficult to obtain partly due to this and because it is a new technology.

Selected references (movie on production of crude pyrolysis oil) (movie on diesel based on pyrolysis oil) (on co-refining of pyrolysis oil)



Europe, Hengelo, The Netherlands






Europe, Mitigation, Freight, Passenger, Technology, Policy, Finance, Awareness, Partnerships




R. Venendaal, CEO BTG (

Quote Minister of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands:
“Pyrolysis technology is considered as one of the key technologies for building a bio-based economy”