New Paper on the techno-economic evaluation of jet fuel production

New paper published by project coordinator CERTH on Energies, MDPI Journal.

Title “Techno-Economic Evaluation of Jet Fuel Production via an Alternative Gasification-Driven Biomass-to-Liquid Pathway and Benchmarking with the State-of-the-Art Fischer–Tropsch and Alcohol-to-Jet Concepts”



Around 65% of the mitigation needed for the targeted net-zero carbon aviation emissions in 2050 is expected to come from Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs). In this study, an alternative gasification-driven Biomass-to-Liquid (BtL) concept for the production of SAFs is introduced and evaluated. In particular, a fuel synthesis scheme based on the double-stage fermentation of the produced syngas (syngas → acetic acid → TAGs) is assessed instead of the conventional Fischer-Tropsch (FT) or Alcohol-to-Jet (AtJ) synthesis. The objective of the present work is the techno-economic evaluation of a large-scale (200 MWth) replication of the mentioned BtL concept, whose performance has been simulated in Aspen PlusTM (V.11) with reasonable upscaling considerations and models validated at a pilot scale. The estimated baseline Total Capital Investment (TCI) of €577 million lies in the typical range of €500–700 million that many recent techno-economic studies adopt for gasification-driven BtL plants of similar capacity, while the estimated annual operating costs of €50 million correspond to a 15–40% OpEx reduction compared to such plants. A discounted cash flow analysis was carried out, and a baseline Minimum Jet Selling Price (MJSP) equal to 1.83 €/L was calculated, while a range of 1.38–2.27 €/L emerged from the sensitivity analysis. This study sets the biological conversion of gasification-derived syngas into triglycerides (TAGs) as a promising alternative route for the production of SAFs. In general, gasification-driven BtL pathways, led by the relatively mature FT and AtJ technologies, are capable of thriving in the coming years based on their capability of advanced feedstock flexibility.

March 2024, Project meeting and final event

19th, 20th March 2024, Brussels – the BioSFerA Consortium met at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) Delegation facilities in Brussels for a two-days event. BioSFerA (Biofuels production from Syngas FERmentation for Aviation and maritime use), is a research and innovation project receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program under Grant Agreement No 884208, started in 2021 and is now coming to an end. During the past 4 years, main project objective was the development of an innovative cost-effective model for the production of advanced biofuels for sustainable transport in maritime and aviation sectors. At this stage, project partners have been called for the last General Assembly meeting of the project (19th March) and for sharing the final research’s results to a public audience: on the 20th of March 9:30-13 (CET). The BioSFerA final event took place with the title: “Setting the course for aviation and marine fuels for the transport of tomorrow”. The event was held in hybrid format and organized by Project Coordinator CERTH and by Environment Park, Project Communication leader with the support of CSIC partner.

The final event has seen the involvement of EU representatives, sector experts and researchers into an interactive morning session. Among them, the presence of the Advisory Board members, such as Q8 Aviation, Fly Green Alliance, Motor Oil Hellas, Athisa Biogeneración.

The morning was planned with an initial project’s presentation by Project Coordinator Konstantinos Atsonios from CERTH, followed by two panel sessions dedicated to the innovative model of waste valorisation proposed by BioSFerA and to the TRL5 scaling-up of the pilot syngas fermentation process. Here, the partners shared their project’s journey and results to the audience thanks to the representatives from partners BBEPP, CERTH, CSIC, CARTIF, ENVIPARK. Polls the presence of specialists from every step in the supply chain led to an interactive and animated the morning to involve the audience and to understand their own point of view on the general topic and on the BioSFerA’s technologies presented along the day. Low-CO2 emissions, circularity, green transports, low-prices were just some of the advantages about the sustainable fuels in transport put in evidence by the polls results. High interest was even showed on the project’s technologies, lead by the two-stage biological syngas-to-lipids fermentation.

Finally, the role of the advanced biofuels in the decarbonisation strategy of the transport sectors and the market potentiality of the BioSFerA model have been discussed during a round table with biofuels value chain players coming from industry and research. The round table was moderated by Prof. Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, head of the Environmental Biotechnology group at CSIC, and it involved the following speakers: Marilena Demetriou – Project Researcher at FincoEnergies, Maria Georgiadou – European Commission Senior Expert – Renewable energy R&I policy, Piero Valmassoi – Project Manager at Greenovate! Europe, Teemu Nevalainen – Director, Solution Development at Sumitomo SHI FW, Xander de Jong – Principle Process Engineer Research & Development at Q8Research, Leonidas Kanonis – Director for Communications and Analysis at EWABA and BioSFerA’s Advisory Board member.

A selection of pictures from BioSFerA Final Event, in order Giorgia Pellegrino – Environment Park, Pedro Acuna Lopez – Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Maria Georgiadou – European Commission,  Xander de Jong – Q8Research.


The round table’s speakers started with a short presentation by each, then some random questions had come by the moderator and by the audience. The importance of advanced biofuels as possible solution for the energy transition in the transport sectors was highlighted, as well as the European goals of decarbonization and energy independence. The comprehensive combination of different factors, from regulations and policies, to value chain players, fuels traders and final users was evident for the uptake of biofuels in the next future. Different technological solutions are close to be market ready, even at large scale and tailored for the different aviation or maritime industries’ needs.

“I’m very glad for these years within the project in the role of coordinator” – states Konstantinos Atsonios, BioSFerA’s Project Coordinator and Project Manager at the Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH)“In this final stage of our project’s journey, I would like to highlight the results achieved after years of research. BioSFerA project leaves a considerable legacy on the portfolio of the advanced biofuels technologies contributing to aviation and maritime decarbonization”.


The BioSFerA Consortium in Brussel, 8th GA meeting




Biofuels International Magazine, BioSFerA is a Success Story

Project BioSFerA’s journey and results available in the specialised magazine Biofuels International, March issue: “BioSFerA reveals key results from a ground-breaking approach for advanced biofuel production – A success story”

Biofuels International magazine encompasses, biodiesel, bioethanol, and biomass topics, covering a global market publication. In 2021, a first article was published on BioSFerA, highlighting biofuels production from syngas fermentation. After three years, BioSFerA project closed the loop sharing final research’s results on its innovative cost-effective model for drop-in marine and aviation biofuels.

Main authors Maarten Van Haute – KPRT , Kostis Atsonios – CERTH with inputs from all the partners. Article available in March/Aprile Issue 2, volume 18, pag. 26.





BioSFerA Final Event: Setting the course for aviation and marine fuels for the transport of tomorrow

In this global context of energy transition, the EU-funded project BioSFerA  provides a sustainable solutiofor jet and bunker biofuels production. The innovative and cost-effective model in which biogenic residues and wastes are valorised to obtain high quality advanced biofuels for aviation and maritime transport represents a valid sustainable alternative to common fossil fuels.

After four years of research, BioSFerA Consortium is ready to present results and potentiality of its technology solution to the industries representatives into a final public event entitled “Setting the course for aviation and marine fuels for the transport of tomorrow”.

The BioSFerA final event will be held at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) facilities in Brussels on next 20th of March 2024.

After the introduction to BioSFerA and its technology, the role of the advanced biofuels in the decarbonisation strategy of the transport sectors and the market potentiality of the BioSFerA model will be discussed into a round table with biofuels value chain players coming from industry and research.

Let’s meet each other at the BioSFerA Final Event: REGISTRATION OPEN.
Location: CSIC’s facilities, 62 Rue du Trône 1050 Ixelles Belgium
Format: hybrid (link provided after registration)



09:00 – 09:15 Attendees’registration

09:15 – 09:30 Welcome and Project Overview

09:30 -10:15 Biomass and waste valorisation: innovative model for EU waste conversion

10:15 – 10:30 Coffee break

10:30 – 11:15 BioSFerA’s scaling up for jet-fuel and marine diesel production

11:15 – 12:15 Biofuels market potential and EU energy transition (round table)

12:15 – 12:30 Wrap-up and conclusions

12:30 Light lunch offered to the attendees

Event schedule has been shifted of 15 minutes, see pdf agenda below for details

Download the FULL AGENDA






Project Coordinator CERTH hosts the BioSFerA Consortium in Thessaloniki

Another successful meeting for BioSFerA and its Consortium: project coordinator CERTH has hosted the last General Assembly of this year at their premises in Thessaloniki. The project is getting closer to the end and this meeting was the occasion to make the current state of play of activities and achievements.

The Consortium proceeds with the last efforts on the biological process of lipids production at laboratory scale: new tests have been performed making use of new modified Y. lipolytica strains realised to further investigated the TAGs lipids production. For instance, glycerol, glucose as carbon sources or a combination of them in a co-feeding fermentation condition were used. Steps forwards have been also done on the TAGs extraction process, the last step of the BioSFerA concept before the hydrotreatment and final biofuels production. BBEPP and ENVI have explored different innovative pathways, performing several tests on the Y. lipolytica broth by using the enzymatic treatment, steam explosion or the combination of both of them. Further trials will lead to the best TAG purification pathway for the scaling up in the next months.

Tests are still running for the syngas fermentation pilot plant installed in VTT’s premises (Biorrukki site), where different gas cleaning strategies and fermentation tests have been performed in order to optimize the integration of the thermochemical part (gasifier) with the biological part (gas fermentation) in terms of productivity and cost reductions . Meanwhile, CERTH’s team is working on the hydrotreatment tests for the jet and marine diesel fuel production on both TRL3 and TRL5. Different catalytic systems have been studied and the optimum hydrotreatment operating conditions that lead to high diesel and jet yields were selected for the TRL5. The expected production of one barrel jet and one barrel marine fuel will appropriately formalize the end of the project. Preliminary samples of the final products were available at CERTH’s premises. An interesting video, showing the research activities on the hydrotreatment were also realized by CERTH and available on the YouTube page of the project:

Taking into account all the performed experimental/pilot activities, the integrated configuration of the commercial BioSFerA value chain was elected and the corresponding Process Flowsheet Diagram (PFD) along with the calculated Heat & Mass balances were presented by CERTH to the entire Consortium. The exact industrial layout and cost engineering of the commercial concept will be provided by Sumitomo SHI-FW in co-operation with BBEPP, KPRT, and CERTH. The preliminary techno-economic evaluation of the concept implies sustainability and financial competitiveness when compared to already certified Biomass-to-Liquid (BtL) technologies (Fischer-Tropsch, Alcohol-to-Jet). Similar to other technologies that target advanced feedstock, capital investment and feedstock costs seem to be the main cost-drivers of the BioSFerA process as well. The results of the complete techno-economic assessment of the BioSFerA concept will be reported by the end of the project. Meanwhile, LCC, s-LCA, and safety studies are proceeding at further support to these first interesting results of the BioSFerA concept uptake. Based on these results, a TRL9 Roadmap will also be an important step for the BioSFerA follow-up and concept exploitation.

BioSFerA Consortium is facing up the last project months. Important efforts will involve the partners in the last technical activities, as well in the dissemination of the results achieved. A final event is expected to be organized next spring 2024 in Brussels. The entire BioSFerA Consortium looks forwards to meet all people interested on the sustainable future of marine and aviation transport.

The BioSFerA Consortium at CERTH’s premises, 7th GA meeting

BioSFerA at CERTH Thessaloniki laboratory visit


BioSFerA hydrotreatment process: a step forwards to our drop-in biofuels

BioSFerA project is approaching last months of its journey and within it, a new and important activity is closing the loop of its research.

The hydrotreatment process represents the final step of the innovative BioSFerA model, based on the combination of a gasification and double-stage fermentation process. Main objective is the upgrading of the extracted TAGs lipids into liquid biofuels. In this new technical video, two levels of research, a small-scale pilot plant (TRL3) and a TRL5 pilot plant, are showed. This is a step forwards for the production of alternative sustainable fuels for aviation and maritime transports.

Experimental activities and video have been realised by CPERI (Chemical Process and Energy Resource Institure) of CERTH (The Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas), BioSFerA project coordinator.



Scaling-up the integrated syngas fermentation pilot process

Following the successful integration of the gasification plant and gas fermentation mobile plant at VTT Bioruukki pilot center (Espoo, Finland), VTT and Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) started the piloting activities last May. The campaigns focused mainly on feeding different purity-grade real syngases to the microorganism to test the effect of impurities on the production of acetate.

Process intensification trials ended in October.

After that, the pilot plant was decommissioned and started its way back to Belgium at the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant’s premises.

Some pictures of BioSFerA Consortium visiting the pilot plant at VTT last May.



Find us in ECOMONDO

Even this year, BioSFerA attends to ECOMONDO, the famous international fair and exhibition on green technology held in Rimini (Italy) from 7th to 10th of November.

Ecomondo, the ecological transition ecosystem, is the place for industry, stakeholders, policy makers, opinion leaders and local authorities to meet and talk. It brings together and systemises the key elements that define the development strategies of the European Union’s environmental policy.

BioSFerA is there with the following activities:

  • Workshop with EU project PYROCO2, 8 November, 2-5:30 pm, Camelia Room, 1st floor Pav. B6. An exploitation workshop on “Demonstrating sustainable value creation from industrial CO2 by its thermofilic microbial conversion into acetate”.
    Speaker for BioSFerA: Stefano Rebecchi, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.
    Link to the session:
  • Poster session exhibition, 7 November, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Sala Tiglio pad. A6. Poster realised by Giorgia Pellegrino from Environment Park,bringing results achieved in the steam explosion tests for the TAGs lipids extraction.
    Link to the session:


BioSFerA was present at POLLUTEC, the international fair on environment and energy.

POLLUTEC took place from 10th to 13th of October in Lyone Eurexpo, France, as a showcase of innovative solutions and good practices, dedicated to industry, cities and territories.

Our partner Environment Park was there with a stand presenting EU projects, BioSFerA included. Here some pictures of the BioSFerA attendance to the exhibition:



BioSFerA in the Synergy Info Pack by CORDIS

BioSFerA Project is one of the 33 EU-funded projects managed by CINEA – European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency to advance Europe’s clean energy transition. CORDIS has now published a synergie brochure with the collection of all funded projects involved into the decabornisation and Clean Energy transition goals of Europe.

Discover BioSFerA in the SYNERGY INFO PACK.