Optimizing and Scaling
The wide range of biomass—whether it is a single feedstock or mixed feedstock—introduces complexities in treating and handling the starting material and resultant products in a process scenario. What works at bench scale may not produce the same results at demonstration and pilot scales.
At ABPDU, our ultimate goal is to optimize processes to avoid problems during scale-up. During downstream polymerization processes, we focus on the specific structures and properties for potential end-user applications. This approach not only helps with quality control, but also allows us to develop the most economical processes.
Understanding Biomass Flow Properties: Changes in Viscosity versus Rheology
The reduced presence of water exponentially increases viscosity of biomass, which poses a number of mass transfer challenges, especially reducing efficacy of enzymes. You can see the drastic change in rheology due to reduced water availability on Avicel®, a form of microcrystalline cellulose.
High Solids Loading
A key feature of biomass is that it is a solid, unlike crude oil. Solids handling is one of the key risk drivers for scale up. Higher solids loading could lead to higher productivity in downstream fermentation processes. At high solids, however, biomass is typically fibrous and hygroscopic and requires special mixing and handling techniques at large-scale.
Performing chemistry on solids is more challenging from a cost and feasibility perspective. At ABPDU, we believe it is critical to obtain a fundamental understanding of the biomass flow properties under various unit operations to evaluate the requirements of mixing and handling techniques for high solid loadings.
Robust Process Design
Rheology of biomass can significantly influence the progress of chemical and biological conversion of biomass to monomeric sugars.
At ABPDU, we utilize extensive rheology to design processes that scale well. The information we obtain helps us balance process economics and quality.
- Is a fed batch process better than a batch process?
- How small a particle size is optimum?
- Can you reduce capital expenditure by using a smaller reactor?
- What type of pump can we use and what would be its specification?
Materials Characterization & Solids Handling Options
Understanding Solids to Liquids Behavior
Optimizing Enzyme Activity at High Solids Loading
Related Papers, Articles, and Presentations
Two case studies exploring conversion technologies for municipal solid waste. One is a partnership INL, and the other is a collaboration with FATER.
Predictive modeling was used to evaluate and optimize traditional pretreatment methods for biomass mixture compositions to maximize sugar yield and minimize furfural production.
Municipal solid waste and corn stover blends present great potential to meet quality and cost requirements for sugar conversion.
Post-consumer absorbent hygiene products can be economically converted to fermentable sugar intermediates, biofuels, and bio-based products
Rheology is the science of deformation and flow of matter, investigating the response of materials to applied stress or strain. Rheological properties describe flow characteristics and textural behavior of substances.