The project

HydroThermal Liquefaction (HTL) has proven itself as the most resource-, energy- and cost efficient technology pathway for conversion to liquid fuels of a wide range of sustainable feedstocks, including agricultural (manures, straw, cuttings/shavings etc) and urban (organic waste, sewage sludge etc).
Centered around a core of technical research and innovation, focused on refinery operations and catalysis, this project delivers a fully documented go to market strategy for initial deployment and scale-up of HTL-derived sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and marine fuels.

Results will include design of optimal upgrading pathways for jet and marine fuels, as well as novel catalytic and fractionation approaches to reducing production costs. 

Preben Birr-Pedersen sitting on a staircase. Project lead on the LowCarbFuels project.

Project Lead:

Preben Birr-Pedersen

+45 31442915


Work Breakdown

WP1Admin, networking & risk managementWP2HTL Biocrude ProductionWP4Fuel testing, Standardization & preparation for certificationQuality & Performance GHG-reduction potentialWP3Fractionation, upgrading & finished oilProject ManagementFEEDSTOCKPROCESSUrban wasteAgricultural wasteMarine fuelISO 8217Marine Engine TestingAviation fuelASTMD4054Jet turbine TestingHydroreatmentIsomerizationCo-refining fossil Co-feedCo-refining renewable co-feedNetworking EventsDisseminationWP5Road-to-MarketScenario analysisMarket assessmentTechno-economic analysisFinished oil
Visual representation of the work breakdown.


What is HTL?
Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a thermal depolymerization process used to convert wet biomass, and other macromolecules, into crude-like oil under moderate temperature and high pressure. The crude-like oil has high energy density with a lower heating value of 33.8-36.9 MJ/kg.
How is the project financed?
The project is supported by the Danish Innovation Fund with a grant of DKK 30.555.005. The project partner co-finance the project with DKK 12.402.042.

What is the project period?
The project started on February 1st, 2021 and will end by January 31st, 2025.
What is the goal of the project?
  • Establish the necessary sequence of refinery unit operations to effectively bring HTL-derived fuels and blend components to required quality (ASTMD4054, ISO8217, EN590 and 228) and quantify cost of these (hydrogen consumption, process conditions, retrofitting/greenfield CAPEX) (scientific/technical)
  • Develop specific and novel combinations of catalysts, hydrotreater design and conditions to target the complex heteroatom structure of the whole biocrude or its fractions without compromising carbon efficiency and optimal boiling point range of the products (technical)
  • Demonstrate the performance of the produced fuels in terms of GHG reduction and emissions in relevant end-user technologies by delivering more than 70 % reductions compared to fossil equivalents at an initial scale of more than 3000 barrels per day (North DK scenario, urban and agricultural waste) corresponding to investments of the order of 2 billion DKK (technical/implementation)
  • Establish location-specific implementation scenarios based on optimized value chains for the specific markets of aviation and marine, including security of supply, freedom-to-operate, and roadmap to implementation including financial aspects (socio-economic)
  • Demonstrate a cost competitive pathway for aviation and marine transport to reach well beyond 70 % CO2 reduction, and quantify the scale and impact of the proposed fuel pathway on the Danish CO2 reduction targets by fossil fuel displacement and sectoral integration with heating and electric (PtX) grids (sustainability)
  • Contribute to implementation of the RED II directive in Denmark by establishing sustainability data on alternative fuels for aviation and marine transport (policy)

Why LowCarbFuels?

“Crossbridge Energy aims to reduce the CO2 footprint of the fuels we sell on the Danish and international markets. The development of sustainable technologies is in focus for the benefit of society and Crossbridge Energy’s business in Denmark. We see a potential in developing technology to process HTL oils for fuels on the Danish market”
Kristen Kristensen

Technical Manager, Cross Bridge Energy

“As part of the green transition, it is important to take advantage of our opportunity to use biowaste and residual biomass for the production of sustainable fuel. Not least for those parts of the transport sector that are not easily electrified. We see great potential in technology and are proud to be part of a consortium that covers the entire value chain; this is crucial for the success of both technological and market breakthroughs. COWI sees itself as a natural player that contributes to the sector linkage and integration of all links in the value chain”
Jeppe Grue

Technical Director, COWI

“Steeper Energy has extensive experience with the HTL technology, which in our edition is called Hydrofaction®, and is already involved in a major demonstration project in Norway. Steeper Energy also works with refining the oil produced from the Hydrofaction® process. Establishment of the overall value chain, which the collaboration aims at, is therefore of crucial importance for the future success of Steeper Energy as a technology supplier”
Steen Iversen

Technical Director, Steeper Energy ApS

Project partners


Steering committee

Jesper Raakjær, CVO, Port of Aalborg

Jeppe Grue, Technical Director, COWI


Hans Jørgen Brodersen, Project Manager, Energy Cluster Denmark

Anne Zachariassen, COO, Port of Aarhus

Kristen Kristensen, Technical Manager, Cross Bridge Energy

Julian Ballarin, Account Manager, Topsøe

Sune Petersen, Head of Sustainability and Strategy, DCC & Shell Aviation Denmark

Oskar Meijerink, Head of Future Fuels, SkyNRG

Laerke Marie Norn, Head of Strategy & Portfolio, Maersk Energy Markets

Dan Prangsgaard, Billund Airport, Kommunikationschef 

Lasse Rosendahl, Head of Department, Aalborg University

Jessica Hofmann, CEO & Founder, GreenFuelHub

Lotta Sandsgaard, Aarhus Airport, CEO