15 March 2020
The agricultural industries may play an important role in paving the way for future sustainability by
developing new value and supply chains. Forest and agriculture residual streams, as well as industrial crops may be processed to new higher value products. The competitiveness of the industries may also be enhanced via the creation of the new business models.
AGROinLOG has evaluated the technical and economic feasibility of a biomass chain based on cereal processing. The biomass chain also includes lignocellulosic residual streams which are generated in large volumes.
In an effort to produce 2nd generation ethanol from wheat straw, AGROinLOG investigated the required processes to utilize all major components of straw.
Pretreatment with physio-chemical methods (Hot water pretreatment, Organosolv and alkaline pretreatment) have shown that the biomass can readily be fractionated to cellulose, hemicellulose
and lignin. Especially Hot water pretreatment showed promise and gave a highly fermentable carbohydrate residue. Organosolv gave a high purity lignin. Enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose/hemicellulose residues provides carbohydrates that are suitable for fermentation into ethanol. The residual lignin fraction has been processed under high temperature and high pressures (300-340 OC, 200 bar, 15-60 minutes reaction time) to produce biooils and biochars in the yield range 50-70% and 1-25%, respectively. The biooils have a much lower oxygen content as compared to the starting material (decreased from ca 50% to ca 15% oxygen) and heating values in the range 32-37 MJ/kg.
Thus, all steps in the process show promise to be further scaled up for a possible final implementation in a full scale, commercial production facility.
The continuous HTL-Equipment