Links BioGasol Biotechnology Industry Organization U.S. Department of energy Pacific ethanol Renewable fuels assosiation Energistyrelsen Ethanol is an alcohol, which can be used for fueling cars. For several years now, ethanol has been produced from, mainly, sugarcane, corn and wheat. These crops are used because they are rich on sugar or starch which is fairly easy to turn into ethanol. This technology is called "sugar/starch based" or "1st generation" and the technology is now wide spread on most continents.
1st generation technology has recently been exposed to increasing critiques from politicians and NGOs. It is accused for causing rises in food prices, damaging biodiversity in large areas, not being energy efficient enough, and not being able to ensure energy security and reduce the emission of CO since fossil fuels are used in the conversion process from sugar/starch to ethanol. help How to navigate Navigate through presentation using the menu in the lower right corner
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Press "0" (zero) to view full screen 2nd generation BioGasol has developed a "cellulose based" or "2nd generation" process. With this new technology it is possible to produce bioethanol from other kinds of biomass than sugarcane, corn, wheat, and other potential food crops. This is because the process uses the cellulosic elements of the plant which is the basic builiding blocks of all plants. Instead of using the wheat grain, it is now possible to make ethanol of the entire straw instead.
The new tecnology makes it possible to use a much wider variety of feedstock for ethanol production. Grass, straw, corn stower, bagasse ect. can, with 2nd generation technology, be used to produce ethanol. This has been successfully demonstrated in BioGasol's pilot plant since 2006.
The 2nd generation/cellulosic technology has several important advantages to 1st generation/starch based technology; one is a much bigger biomass potential. Some other advantages are presented on this website so go ahead, click "next" to move on or zoom out to explore the site on your own. Ethanol 2 Why bioethanol? 1st generation What is ethanol? Enzymes Solid fuel Hydrogen Technical details Enzymes specially developed to hydrolyse cellulose are added to hydrolyse the biomass. cellulose and hemicellulose chains are broken up into glucose and xylose. The longer the biomass and the enzymes get to react together the better the sugar chains are hydrolysed. A 100% hydrolysis would take several days and this would not contribute to an effective production. The effectiveness of the hydrolysis is therefore a compromise between time and complete-ness of the hydrolysis. The second fermentation step in the process is fermentation of the xylose contained in the mixture of sugar water and ethanol from the centrifuge. It is very difficult and almost impossible to ferment xylose, however, BioGasol has developed a technique to manage this challenge.
The fermentation is performed anaerobically by some very unique bacteria. The bacteria originate from hot springs on Iceland and has only been slightly modified genetically. No genes has been added to the bacteria but some has been removed. So it is actually a question of definition whether it is gene modified or not. The bacteria is patented and is therefore unique for the BioGasol process. It is a thermophile bacteria which means it lives only in warm conditions of about 70°C (158°F). Below a temperature 65°C (149°F) the bacteria will stop reproducing.
Inside the fermentation reactor, the bacteria is bound to granulate, and the process functions in a fluid bed setup, which means, the biomass is pumped in through the bottom of the tank moving up through the granulate and the bacteria. That way, xylose is very effectively fermented into ethanol with hydrogen and CO2 as by-products.
After xylose fermentation, what is left is water, ethanol, and a small portion of biomass containing a few salts. Hydrolysis Xylose fermentation After hydrolysis the biomass moves on to glucose fermentation. In this step yeast will convert the glucose sugars into ethanol. It is the same process that is used on starch in 1st generation bioethanol. the process is done anaerobic since no oxygen is required. The yeast converts each glucose molecule into two ethanol and two CO2 molecules. Glucose fermentation Methane Biomass A big tree do not go into the pre-treatment boiler very well. Therefore, the biomass is firstly cut into small pieces and washed. This is done to all material. most material is cut in lengths of about 2-3 centimetres (about an inch). A membrane filters the salts, which can be used as a fertiliser, and the water is reused for pre-treatment of new biomass. Filtration Washing the biomass Some use acids, some use steam, and some might use other methods to pre-treat the biomass. In the BioGasol process we do not wish to use strong chemicals as e.g. sulphur acid. We use a unique combination of steam explosion and wet oxidation. The biomass is boiled at 160-180°C (320-356°F) and a pressure of 6,5-10 bar. Oxygen is added to help the process. After boiling the biomass for about 5-15 minutes the biomass is flashed on in the system. The flash is a sudden pressure release which lowers the temperature dramatically and opens up the cell structure even more. The pre-treatment makes the biomass produce a bit of acid itself and the pH is therefore regulated with a bit of potassium.
The structure of the biomass is at this point completely opened up and it now looks like a thick brown soup. Pre-treatment Ethanol In order to separate the eth-anol from the water and the remaining biomass, distillation is needed. This is done through a completely conventional dis-tillation process. To reach the highest ethanol percentage, the last water in the ethanol is separated though membrane filtration. Distillation Separation of solids The lignin is still present in the soup. Because it would cause problems in the next fermentation step, the fermentation of xylose, it needs to be separated at this stage. A centrifuge is used to sort the solids from the sugar water and the ethanol. The higher the dry matter percentage gets the better. Some xylose will get caught in the dry solids and we want to get as much xylose sugar passed on in the process as possible.
The separated solids will be used as fuel for steam production or sold as fuel pellets. The biomass used in BioGasol's 2nd generation/cellulosic bioethanol technology would typically be plant material like wheat straw, corn stover, bagasse, or grass, though, in theory, any type of plant could be used because all plants are made of sugar in the form of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.
The cellulose consists of glucose, also known as grape sugar, hemicellulose consists mainly of xylose sugars, and lignin functions as complex sugar glue in the cell wall and keeps the cellulosic fibers together in a mesh.
One of the most difficult tasks in the entire conversion process, is to open up the cell structure and gain access to the glucose and xylose sugars in the material. BioGasol has developed a very effective pre-treatment process that gives access to the cellulosic sugars so they can be fermented into ethanol later in the process.
Another challenge is the fermentation of xylose. Glucose is easily fermented but xylose is very difficult to ferment into ethanol. BioGasol has also developed a uniqe technology to deal with this challenge. Introduction 1 4 Xylose fermentation 3 This next fermentation step takes care of the xylose sugars. The two sugar types glycose and xylose are the most abundant in all plant material.
Fermentation of xylose into ethanol is very difficult.
BioGasol has made a breakthrough on fermentation of xylose using bacteria found in hot springs on Iceland. The bacteria are anaerobic, which means they operate in the absence of oxygen. Furthermore, the bacteria need a temperature of about 70°C (158°F) to live and reproduce. Inside the tank, the bacteria are bound to small grains. Bagasse Switch grass Pre-treatment 2 Glucose fermentation Biogas Ethanol and water is separated through distillation. After this process the water is sent to a biogas tank.
In the biogas tank, the remaining organic particles is turned into methane. Methane is a highly flammable gas and is used in a gas engine to produce all the electricity used at the ethanol plant.
The biogas process cleans the water and after the last salts is filtered from the water it is sent back to pre-treatment and thereby recycled. Demonstration
plants Commercialisation Roadmap Projects Pilot plant When growing energy crops as corn or wheat, large areas of land are turned into monocultures. The OECD report “Biofuels: Is the cure worse than the disease?” and several other sources claim this is a very serious probem.
Using BioGasol’s 2nd generation technology, gives farmers much better options for growing a wide collection of different plants. They no longer have to rely only on high starch yield plants and thereby create monocultures. Because lignocellulose, the building block of all plants, is utilized in 2nd generation technology, the biodiversity has a much better chance of being preserved. Biodiversity Introduction BornBiofuel Commercial Plants Future commercial plants will be fully integrated using all side streams for i.e. biogas, fertilizer products and fuel pellets for combustion, but will feature the two BioGasol core technologies (red areas).
Commercial, large scale plants will become feasible from 60 MLPY if based on the BioGasol massbalance. Integrated demonstration plant is to be located on the Island of Bornholm, Denmark and will be capable of producing 5 MLPY.
The BornBioFuel project phase 1 has been completed and resulted in semi-industrial scale solutions for pretreatment and C5 fermentation.
The BornBioFuel project phase 2 was commenced in 2011 and is supported by a grant from the Danish Energy Agency of 10.5 mill. EUR. Maxifuel - Proof of concept Fully integrated pilot plant incl. C5 fermentation.
Operating since 2006 at the Technical University of Denmark Flexibility Flexibility is very important when utilizing biomass. BioGasol’s technology is highly flexible on both feedstock and yield. A very wide variety of feedstock can be utilized in the process. The only basic requirements are the presence of cellulosic material, which is found in all plants. Typical examples of biomass could be: Wheat straw, bagasse, corn stover, switch grass. Energy sustainability Production of bioethanol through 1st generation technology requires a substantial amount of energy. This energy is mainly supplied from fossil fuels. BioGasol’s technology produces, besides ethanol, the by-products methane, hydrogen, and a solid fuel. These by-products are used to supply the ethanol plant with all the "green" electricity and steam needed, thereby, making it completely energy sustainable. The idea of growing fuel in the fields instead of pumping it up from the ground sounds to most of us as a really good idea. That way, we can avoid adding carbon to the atmosphere from ancient reservoirs. Carbon, that will eventually bond with oxygen to form CO , a green house gas, that help blocking infrared radiation from the earth keeping it warm. What a great way to help preventing global warming!
There has, however, been some critique of bioethanol production lately. It has turned out, there are some unfortunate issues associated with producing bioethanol through starch based 1st generation technology. cellulosic 2nd generation technology, developed by BioGasol, addresses several of these concerns. 2 A 1st generation bioethanol is not very effective at limiting the emission of green house gasses. Calculations show that 1st generation bioethanol only provides a green house gas avoidance of about 30% compared to conventional gasoline.
2nd generation technology is potentially much better at limiting green house gas emission and estimations gives a reduction of about 91% compared to conventional gasoline.
(source: Institute for environment and sustainability – well to wheels analysis) Limiting green house gas emission Value proposition Sustainability 2nd generation bioethanol technology is on its way to the market. Therefore, it is expected that political demands will be put on the industry regarding the sustainability of ethanol production. BioGasol is on the leading edge of the policies and has developed a technology which optimizes the sustainability of bioethanol production. The biogas tank is a big part of the solution to complete sustainability. It is a unique feature for ethanol plants patented by BioGasol which makes it possible to recycle the process water and produce all the power needed at the plant. The solids separated from the process are burned and used to produce all the steam needed for heating the biomass. Add-on BioGasol’s technology for using lignocellulosic biomass for ethanol production is on its way to the market. One way of implementing the technology is to build an add-on to an existing bioethanol plant. Instead of burning or selling the cellulosic by-products from 1st generation/starch based ethanol production, it too, can be converted into ethanol adding value to the by-products, increasing ethanol yield, and energy efficiency remarkably. It should also be taken in account that the add-on often will be able to share things like distillery and stream with the existing ethanol plant which makes the add-on a very cheap but highly effective improvement. Red boxes mark BioGasol core technology Low cost ethanol One of the problems concerning 1st generation bioethanol is the need for subsidies. When turning to 2nd generation technology it is possible to use biomass that is already considered a waste product like wheat straw or corn stover. Therefore, the biomass price can be held very low and ethanol can be produced at a price level that is competitive with conventional gasoline. Biogas All the water is, after distillation pumped, to a biogas tank. In this tank the last remains of biomass will be turned into methane and CO through anaerobic digestion.
This proces will purify the water and makes it possible to recycle the water back to the pre-treatment process. 2 Once pre-treated, the biomass is a thick brown soup is ready for the next step which is glucose fermentation. Yeast is added to react with the glucose sugars, also known as grape sugar, which the yeast transforms into ethanol. Glucose is not the only type of sugar in the biomass. Therefore an additional fermentation step is needed, the fermentation of xylose. Basic technology The first step, illustrated here, is pre-treatment of the biomass. Whether it is wheat straw, corn stalks, or any other plant material it all requires pre-treatment in order to gain access to the embedded sugarchains (poly saccharides) and/or liberate the sugars in a monomeric form (mono saccharides).
Pre-treatment is done by, first cutting it into smaller pieces, and then boiling the biomass at elevated temperatures and pressure. A dilute acid, alkali or i.e. oxygen is added to the mixture, which catalyzes the process. Following the biomass is decompressed and thereby exposed to a sudden pressure drop. This process opens up the cell structure of the biomass and provides access to the sugars.
After the boiling process enzymes are added to break the long sugar chains from the biomass into single sugar molecules ready for fermentation. http://www.energy.gov/ http://www.ens.dk/ http://www.ethanolrfa.org/ http://www.pacificethanol.net/ http://www.bio.org/ http://www.biogasol.com/ ...a combined biotech and engineering company with unique technologies for the cellulosic bioethanol industry Visit us at
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Carbofrac pretreatment at 50kg/h and 1t/h since 2010, and Pentoferm C5 fermentations at lab, 250L and 2.5m³See the full transcript