As signaled, we publish a round up and presentations of biorefinery development or 'pilot' units in northern Sweden, gleaned from a talks at a meeting 1 December of scientists and representatives of biorefinery industry at Örnsköldsvik, given by Bio4Energy and the Processum Biorefinery Initiative.
Pilot facility for production of biomass from algae at Umeå, Sweden
“It can remove CO2 and NOx, and heavy metals”, he mused. The petroleum company “Preem wants to test the product in its biorefinery” to make biodiesel, said Gentili with reference to a certain line of testing at the pilot installation.
“We have to lower costs so as to show that we can produce [products and be competitive] in northern Sweden”, he said.
Processum Pilot Park, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden
There were a set of ATEX-classified reactors in which chemical synthesis experiments could be performed, said Blomberg. These were reactors that needed to sit in a room which could be sealed to prevent leakage of potentially harmful gases, or to lower the risk for people in the event of an explosion, according to Sören Back of Processum. Next door was the BioBo, an installation so named after the Governor of the County of Västernorrland, Bo Källstrand who inaugurated it 1 December (see previous couple of articles in this News' section).
The Processum “pilot park” also had a filter press for processing different types of bio-based sludge or of lignin slurry; a decanter centrifuge designed for separation of solids from mixed liquid-solid materials containing bio-based sludge, cellulose or lignin and; a “liquid-liquid” extraction module. This latter could serve to separate chemicals from waste streams or byproducts, Blomberg said. Further an application for grinding barks or wood chips, particularly their cellulosic components—a ‘Hosokawa Alpine UPZ 100’ mill—was intended for used by the firm Akso Nobel.
Finally, a CEPA high-speed centrifuge would render the park complete by offering facilities for separating microbial biomass from different process streams.
Ethanol Pilot, Domsjö development area, Sweden
The equivalent of two tonnes of dry woodchips could be processed each day, Wännström added. He stressed that the demonstration unit was equipped to carry out all steps of the biorefinery process from the input of raw material to end product. There was also a filter press. Further types of products would be developed during 2012. Researchers Ulrika Rova and Chris Berglund of Bio4Energy and the Luleå University of Technology were mentioned in connection to the development of a ‘sugar platform’.
Gasification & wood chipping technologies, Härnösand region
A mechanical pulping technology developed in “close cooperation” with SCA, a company that makes hygene products and forest-sourced ones, was also described. “The metallurgical industry is interested in this technology”, said Björkqvist. In the same geographically central region of Sweden, a “pilot wood chipper” stood to be found at an Utansjö “chipping” pilot plant, he said. Moreover, in the same cluster, technology supplier to firms in the pulp and paper industry Metso operated a “refinery” pilot plant for making fiberboards. “There are riveting things in the wood which are not destroyed when you grind it instead of boiling it. This (line of research) is really… our focus”, said Björkqvist.
ETC at Piteå & the Solander Science Park, Sweden
Henrik Wiinnikka of the Energy Technology Centre at Piteå described a range of development units hosted by the ETC. They are presented in more detail in the corresponding presentation (attached). Briefly, the park included a gasification pilot unit operated by Bio4Energy industrial partner Chemrec, producing bioDME from raw synthesis gas obtained by gasifying black liquor, a forestry waste stream, with an input of about 20 tonnes of black liquor per day. A reactor called ‘Pressurized Entrained Flow Gasification of Biomass’, PEBG, run on wood “powder” from ground bark, forest residues and torrefied biomass had been developed by the team of Magnus Marklund of B4E.
Also at Piteå, a cyclone gasifier of biomass, or VIPP Gasifier, owned by MEVA Innovation, turned wood “powder”, reed canary grass and torrefied biomass into electricity generated on a small scale. A wet electricity scrubber was at hand, which could remove environmentally-harmful substances from the synthesis gas obtained, Wiinnikka said. Finally, a cyclone reactor for producing pyrolysis oils, owned by ETC, could turn out 20 kilogramme of oil per hour.
Biomass boiling & membrane filtering by MoRe Research, Örnsköldsvik
Stefan Svensson of MoRe Research said the company had five “smaller” circulation boilers, a “cost-efficient and flexible large pilot boiler”, as well as a membrane filtering devise that worked best at low temperatures. Moreover a spinning pilot, which was said to have been the “missing link” at the Domsjö research and development park at Örnsköldsvik, had been added for the purpose of testing methods or processes for making textiles or "superior-quality" viscose thread from regenerated cellulose fiber. (The textile referred to might be known to some as ‘rayon’.) The pilot installation was said to have the capacity to make 20 grammes of thread from 250 millilitre of input material which was “rather a lot”.
Umeå drying and torrefaction facilities used by B4E researchers
“That is we want to turn biomass into 'green' coal by roasting or torrefying it”, he clarified. Researchers were testing biomass-based input materials such as spruce, eucalyptus, reed canary grass and forest residues, to see which of them appeared to have the most desirable characteristics for further refinement, he added.
Other outputs from the pilot installations could include a “high-quality” gas to be used for fuel or as a process gas in industry, Nordin said. Plans for combining the production of pyrolysis oil and torrefaction were being sketched out, Nordin revealed.
- Written by Anna Strom