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Activities Task 27

Near-Market Routes to Hydrogen by Co-utilisation of Biomass as a Renewable Energy Source With Fossil Fuels

Operating Agent: Ms. Elif Caglayan, TUBITAK Marmara Research Center

and Dr. Jan-Erik Hanssen, 1-Tech

Term:  Task 27 received final approval for a three year term in November 2008.

Purpose and Objectives: 

The overall objective of Task 27 is to advance the development of hydrogen production based on renewable sources in the market place, focusing on biomass and on opportunities of interest for industrial application.

The specific objectives are to:

Identify and evaluate the most attractive and realistic process pathways towards a large-scale demonstration of biomass co-gasification with fossil fuels;

  • Quantify the potential for a renewable-based H2 supply chain based on upgrading biomass waste near source into a tradable intermediate (a biomass carrier), its commercial transport and use in centralised gasification plants;
  • Evaluate the most attractive way of utilising stand-alone biomass gasification technology in near-to-medium term H2 markets;
  • Develop and verify a Roadmap for the market introduction of biomass-based routes to H2

These objectives form the basis for the four subtasks in Task 27, which will have subtask leaders from industry and technology institutes.


Hydrogen can be produced from a large number of energy sources, with different conversion technologies. It is generally expected that hydrogen production in the near and medium term will be based mainly on carbon containing materials. However, for introducing large scale hydrogen on the energy market it must be obtained from sources and by processes that are more sustainable than current energy carriers in terms of lower greenhouse gases and reduced fossil dependence. To achieve this, carbon-lean, and ideally carbon-free, pathways must be favoured for hydrogen production.

In a near term perspective, biomass resources both available locally and traded, can be used in combination with fossil sources - primarily coal, but also crude oil residues, in order to achieve both a high ultimate volume, a potentially huge new outlet for biomass; and possibility for an early market penetration, with potential for contributing to, and even leading, the transition to a continent wide hydrogen economy.

This task succeeds Task 16 B - Prospects for hydrogen from biomass - one of three subtasks in Task 16, Hydrogen from Carbon-containing Materials.


These objectives form the basis for the four subtasks in Task 27, which will have subtask leaders from industry and technology institutes.

Subtask A: Co-gasification of biomass with fossil fuels (subtask leader Claudio Zeppi, ENEL)

Subtask B: Hydrogen market facilitation based on distributed processing of biomass to new tradable intermediates (subtask leader Bert van de Beld, BTG)

Subtask C: Near term, stand-alone biomass gasification (subtask leader Esa Kurkela, VTT)

Subtask D: Roadmap-development and verification - a business-oriented roadmap for hydrogen produced with biomass as a renewable source (subtask leader Jan-Erik Hanssen, 1-Tech)

The work will be based on market expectations and will prioritise technological solutions that can be realised within a reasonable time frame by a focused collaborative effort.

The participants are experts from industry, technology institutes and academia.  They come from Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Turkey, USA, Spain - and more countries and experts are invited to join for the start-up in 2009.  The Task will collaborate inter alia with the IEA Bioenergy IA, to avoid duplication of efforts and achieve synergies.


A task Preparatory meeting was held in Italy in March 2008, hosted by Enel. A detailed Program of Work has been submitted and Task 27 was approved with two co-chairs in November 2008.

During 2008 also a draft report was prepared by VTT, reviewing dedicated biomass gasification processes and projects entitled as Hydrogen production via thermal gasification of biomass in near to medium term. The participants reviewed the document and it has been decided that the draft report would be revised and updated every six months as a live document within the Task.

Proposed 1st year deliverables

The subtask leaders have proposed first phase (12 months) deliverables as follows:

D1: Assessment of biomass/coal compatibility for co-gasification.

D2: Mapping gasifier locations vs. transport/logistics for pyrolysis oil.

D3: Review of dedicated biomass gasification processes & projects.

D4: Quantification of key parameters of the integral/split process concept for hydrogen production via co-gasification of biomass with fossil fuels.


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