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  • Small Scale Continuous Biomass

    Pretreatment Reactor Development:

    A Case Study Dale Monceaux1 and Richard C. Agar, AdvanceBio, LLC, Milford, OH, USA

    2013 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

    June 16-19, 2013 Montréal, Canada

    • Company intro

    • Feedstock characterization

    • Technology scaleup

    • Pretreatment reactor design

    • Learnings

  • AdvanceBio

    AdvanceBio, LLC

    • Formed in 2007

    • Provide technology, engineering

    and process design services for first

    generation starch and sugar based

    ethanol production.

    • Provide consulting services in

    support of project development.

    • Consult and provide services

    related to first and second

    generation biofuels and.

    • Application of process simulation

    modeling of ethanol plants to

    support efficiency and technology

    upgrades and capacity expansion.

    AdvanceBio Systems,

    LLC

    • Formed in 2009

    • Exclusive rights to IP related to the

    mechanical design of biomass

    processing equipment used in the

    pulp & paper and biomass to

    chemicals at capacities to 700 bdtp

    • Scaled the process down to meet

    the immediate needs of the current

    market.

    • Design, engineer, fabricate and

    supply biomass pretreatment

    reactors and ancillary equipment.

    • Provide design, engineering and

    fabrication of small scale skid-

    mounted process equipment based

    on non-ABS IP.

  • AdvanceBio

    • Core group of technologists and engineers

    with each with over 30 years of development,

    design and operations experience

    • Technology development and consulting

    services for biofuels and biochemicals projects

    – Conventional

    • starch and sugar

    • plant capacities up to 100 mm gpy

    – Advanced

    • lignocellulosic

  • ENZYME

    PROD

    FEEDSTOCK

    SIZE

    REDUCTION

    Context for Pretreatment

    CONDITION

    PRETREAT

    FERMENT

    SACCHARIFY

    IMPREGNATE

    FEEDSTOCK

    CLEANING

    RESIDUAL

    PRODUCT

    RECOVERY

    FEEDSTOCK

    PROD &

    HARVEST

    Pretreatment has a

    central role and

    pervasive impact on

    all other processes

  • How to Reduce Uncertainty/Risk

    •Successive scale-up to bench, pilot, modules,

    demonstration processes before commercial

    plant – historical industrial approach

    – Provides data valued by investors

    – Time consuming

    – Costly

    – Private investors reluctant to incur costs, risks, long

    time horizons

    5

  • Feedstock Bulk Density

    6

    720

  • Developmental Scale Equipment

  • Overall Glucose and Xylose Yields

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    80%

    90%

    100%

    0 20 40 60 80 100 120

    Pretreatment time (min)

    Y ie

    ld (

    % o

    f o

    ri g

    in a

    l g

    lu co

    se +

    x y

    lo se

    )

    Maximum potential glucose

    Maximum potential xylose

    8

    Combined

    Glucose in

    Stage 1

    Xylose in

    Stage 2

    Maximum glucose yield – even more

    challenging for low enzyme loadings

    Maximum xylose yield

    Maximum total yield

    Dilute Acid Pretreatment and Subsequent Enzymatic Hydrolysis

    160oC with 0.49% H2SO4

  • Design Basis Considerations

    –Reaction Chemistry – Catalyst

    –Reaction Conditions • Time

    • Temperature / Pressure

    –Liquid Solids Ratio

    –Bulk Density

    –Feedstock Composition

    –Conversion Efficiencies

    –Plant Capacity

    9

  • Reactor Volumetric Capacity

    10

    per 10 minutes of residence at 50% active volume per 100 mm lpy of Ethanol

    Bagasse

    Corn Stover

    Wheat Straw

    Rice Straw

    Reed

    Bamboo

    Hardwood

    So wood

    750 800 850 900 950 1,000

    ODtpd

  • Thermal Conductivity

    11

  • Scaleup………Scaledown

    12

    VISUALIZE

    DESIGN

  • Commercial Scale Biomass to Sugars

    13

  • Sugarcane Bagasse

    14

  • Commercial Reactors for Making Furfural

    15

  • Commerical-Scale Process

  • AdvanceBio Reactor Design Basis Criteria

    •Continuous feed and discharge

    •Temperature control (pressure)

    •Time control

    •Feedstock flexibility

    •High solids

    •Catalyst flexibility

  • Reactor Metallurgy

    •Metals-

    – High pH

    • Carbon steel

    • 304

    • 316

    – Low pH

    • Alloy 825

    • Alloy C-276

    • Monel® 400

    • Zirconium

    •Commercial

    – Corrosion rate

    – Erosion

    – Cost

    •Research

    – Corrosion

    – Cost

    18

    Operating

    Life

  • Scope of Supply

    By AdvanceBio

    • Feedstock flow control

    mechanism

    • Reactor

    – Feedstock flexibility

    – Chemistry flexibility

    – Residence time control

    – Temperature control

    • Discharge mechanism

    • Flash separation

    • Steam generation capacity

    • Control system

    • Mobile skid package

    By Owner

    • Boiler feedwater

    • Instrument air

    • Electricity

    • Catalyst

    • Feedstock

    • Process conditions

  • Design Basis Criteria

    • Nominal Capacity: 10 dry kg/hr at 10 minutes

    retention

    • Raw Material: Shredded biomass – Length: Less than 12 mm

    • Reaction Conditions: – Retention Time: 2.0 to 60 minutes

    – Operating Temperature: Typical 120° to 190°C

    – Operating Pressure: 11.5 bar at 190°C

    – Catalyst Chemical: Mixed with solids before feeding

    – Design Feedstock Density: Typical 80 dry kg/m3

  • Bench Scale Pretreatment Reactor

  • Small Scale System

    Mechanical

    Considerations

    22

  • Biomass Bulk Density Variability

    4.2

    4.3

    4.4

    4.5

    4.6

    4.7

    4.8

    4.9

    5

    5.1

    3.4 27.0 216.0 729.0

    B u

    lk D

    e n

    s it

    y

    (l b

    /f t3

    )

    Container Size (in3)

    3.0 30.0 300

  • Corrosion - Errosion

  • Other Learnings

    •Catalyst feed rates at ultra-low

    throughput rates are not conducive to

    continuous feed and good distribution.

    •Apparent minor changes in equipment

    can have a significant impact on the

    overall design and fabrication schedule.

    • “Standard design” will generally require

    custom features.

    •The direction of research groups will

    change. 25

  • Generation 2 Bench Reactor

    26

  • Lab Scale Reactor

    27

  • Future…

    • Continue to focus on optimizing the design and

    fabrication of bench, lab and pilot units with

    learnings transferable to commercial systems.

    • Currently working on non-liquid catalyst recovery

    systems.

    • Providing small, self-contained equipment skids for

    process technologies other than biomass

    pretreatment.

    • Developing reactors optimized for producing,

    furfural, etc.

    28

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