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HTL pilot plant

Aarhus University has designed and built a pilot plant for the hydrothermal conversion of biomass into chemicals or fuels that can be mixed with or replace motor fuels.

The process is popularly known as HTL (hydrothermal liquefaction). Basically, organic materials are mixed with water and subjected to high pressures of 150-350 bar and temperatures of 300-450 degrees. The result after a short process is a viscous oil that can be refined to both a diesel fuel and numerous other products.

The facility allows the work to be carried out in a continuous process where the pressure is maintained and the heat loss is reduced through heat recovery of much of the heat that is used to heat the biomass. This means that the plant is expected to have a much higher energy efficiency than previous systems.

The design of the pilot plant permits its subsequent upscaling to a demonstration scale and full-scale plant.

The platform will, among other things, support research in:

  • Conversion of wet lignocellulosic by-products from farming and industry
  • Conversion of (energy) crops, cover crops and crop fractions from farming
  • Conversion of organic waste products from households, farming and industry
  • Chemical analyses of fractions and ecotoxicological assessment of waste products




Patrick Biller

Associate Professor Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering - Process and Materials Engineering


Blichers Alle 20, building L38
DK-8830 Tjele