Technology

Technology for bio-products is emerging and includes the following sub-technologies:

  • Biomass selection
  • Biomass growth
  • Biomass harvesting
  • Biomass transportation and storage
  • Biomass preparation
  • Biomass conversion
  • Product separation and purification
  • Product sales and distribution
  • Federal policies and incentives for each of the above.

BDC maintains an extensive literature watch for deployment activities in each of these areas and any other area of interest to the members of the BDC Steering Committee. Major activities are coded, distributed and archived. See archives for the system currently in use. R&D is not a BDC focus but any landmark R&D will be included. Additionally a list of validated pilot, demonstration or commercial facilities that are either under construction or largely financed for construction will be maintained and separately issued to the BDC.

Current technology platforms for bio-products include:

  • SUGAR

  • THERMAL

  • HYBRID

 

SUGAR PLATFORM: Current pilot, demonstration, or commercial technologies include:

  • VPP which is extraction of hemicellulose prior to pulping, pelletizing or combustion.
  • Acid hydrolysis to convert cellulose to glucose and/or other sugars
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis to convert cellulose to glucose and/or other sugars
  • Combinations of the above with the understanding that residual lignin is a byproduct.

THERMAL PLATFORM: Current pilot, demonstration, or commercial technologies include:

  • Pyrolysis to convert biomass  to a “liquid wood”. The pyrolysis oil can be burned in conventional boilers which is being done commercially or catalytically converted to bio-products (in development)
  • Supercritical Water processes, which rely on high pressure and temperature to dissolve, react, and convert the biomass to an oil phase and a water phase.  The oil can be processed further into fuels and chemicals or processed in a petroleum refinery by blending with petroleum crude oil.
  • Gasification to convert all of the organic portions of biomass to a gas whose major composition is hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Trace elements of other gases that are stable over ~1400*F are typically removed in a subsequent syngas cleanup stage. The syngas can be catalytically converted to specific bio-products with proprietary processes (in demonstration), catalytically manipulated to Fischer-Tropsch liquids like diesel and wax (past pilot into demonstrated) or burned in conventional boilers or lime kilns (demonstrated)
  • Combustion uses conventional technologies to produce power using biomass as fuel when appropriate power purchase contracts can be obtained. Historically these have been unique but are being discussed more widely. Stand-alone facilities, as historically done by the utility industry, have documented commercial thermal efficiencies of only 18 to 22% (BTUs sold divided by BTUs purchased). When a similar facility is thermally integrated with a steam and hot water host, thermal efficiencies of 70 to 80% have been achieved. Current examples are Peregrine Energy at Sonoco, Hartsville SC and Excel Energy at Domtar, Rothschild WI.

HYBRID PLATFORM: Current pilot, demonstration, or commercial technologies include:

  • Fermenting syngas like Coskata and INEOS
  • Gasifying the residues of hydrolysis and using the hydrogen to enrich yield like ZeaChem and others
  • Producing mechanical  bio-products ( like superior )pellets from enzymatic  residues like KL Energy
  • Producing chemical bio-products which is being developed on a confidential basis.

BDC will not recommend specific technologies or suppliers. BDC will conduct objective comparisons on technologies where there is ample public information. One example is the paper titled “Key Metric Comparisons of 5 Cellulosic Biofuel Pathways” published in the 1Q of 2010 in Bioenergy Technical Quarterly.

 

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While BDC attempts to keep the information on the web site up to date and correct, no representations or warranties are made of any kind about the accuracy of the information and no endorsement is made regarding any specific technology or service. Any reliance that you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. To the fullest extent provided by law, neither BDC nor any of its partners, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates or other representatives will be liable for damages arising out of or in connection with the use of the information. BDC communication are in accordance with all US antitrust laws which forbid discussion of price, terms, conditions of sale, and allocations of markets.