Celignis Analytical has a number of formulae which are used to predict, based on
sample compositional data, the potential product yields (on the basis of litres of biofuel and energy (GJ) of
biofuel output) that could be obtained when processing biomass samples in seven different biorefining technologies
(labelled 1 to 7).
These numbers are estimates and may not be representative of the actual yields that may be achieved in real-world conditions.
The data are presented online to customers, on the Celignis Database, in tabulated and graphical formats,
providing that the appropriate analysis packages have been selected.
Samples for which data regarding the elemental and ash contents have been obtained (e.g. Celignis Analysis Package: P40 - Combustion Package) will
have data for potential biofuel yields from 2 different representative gasification technologies (Technologies 6 and 7).
Summary of Technologies
Five of the technologies (1-5) involve the hydrolysis of biomass polysaccharides and the subsequent fermentation of the
liberated monosaccharides to ethanol. Technologies 6 and 7 operate via the thermochemical platform, specifically
via the gasification of the biomass and the subsequent catalytic synthesis of fuels.
These technologies are explained in the text below and the following table which compares them on the basis of: commercialisation status; minimum size for a commercial facility;
cost of biofuel produced; feedstock flexibility; and potential biofuel yield.
Five different hydrolysis technologies are examined:
1 - Dilute acid hydrolysis of biomass in two plug-flow reactors. This can be considered to representative of a near-commercial dilute-acid hydrolysis facility.
2 - Dilute acid hydrolysis of cellulose in a counter-current reactor with an uncatalysed steam hydrolysis pre-treatment. This more
efficient process (for cellulose hydrolysis) may be commercially viable in the future.
3 - Concentrated acid hydrolysis of biomass.
4 - Enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass. Involves a dilute acid pre-treatment and separate fermentation of the monosaccharides from cellulose
and hemicellulose (sequential hydrolysis and fermentation - SHF). Cellulase enzymes are produced in a separate reactor to that for hydrolysis. This is the likely setup of the first
commercial enzymatic hydrolysis facilities.
5 - Enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of biomass via consolidated
bioprocessing (CBP) with a liquid hot water pre-treatment step. Here hydrolysis of cellulose, fermentation of the sugars and production of
cellulases all take place in one reactor and involve a single micro-organism. This process can be considered to potentially be the most
efficient and economical enzymatic hydrolysis technology; however, it is currently not sufficiently developed for commercialisation. There
is substantial ongoing research, however, and it is expected that such a process could be viable before 2020.
The following formulae are used to calculate the yield of ethanol according to the hexose and pentose contents of the feedstock and the estimated efficiencies of the
technology (based on a literature review). Table 2 then outlines the efficiencies used for the hydrolysis processes based on these equations:
Conversion factors and yields for the hydrolysis technologies. Click to enlarge.
Technologies 6 and 7 are based on the gasification conversion process. Unlike the hydrolysis technologies, which specifically target the structural polysaccharides of feedstocks, the thermochemical processes degrade all volatile components of the feedstock (which includes the lignin, as well as the polysaccharides). Determinations of process yields for these technologies are based on the estimated heating values of the feedstock, as calculated from its elemental composition.
Where O* = the sum of the contents of oxygen and other elements (including S, N,
Cl, etc.) in the organic matter, i.e.
O* = 100%-C-H-Ash.
The Lower Heating Value (LHV), or effective heating value, is more relevant than the HHV in
practical operations. It considers the energy required to vaporise the water generated when the hydrogen and
elements of the biomass combine. Hydrogen content then becomes a reducing factor in the heating value.
The LHV can be calculated on a dry basis from the equation below:
The two representative gasification technologies used are described below:
6 - Synthesis of mixed alcohols via the catalytic processing of
syngas derived from the gasification of biomass. The efficiency of the process is based
on the LHV of the feedstock, giving a conversion efficiency of 48.8% to ethanol and 9.6% to higher alcohols, although the calculations
will only consider the ethanol produced. The process is considered to be beyond the current state of the art and more likely for commercialisation closer to 2023.
7 - The Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis of a mixed range of linear hydrocarbons from biomass-derived syngas. We use data for an Institute of Gas Technology,
direct, oxygen blown, pressurised gasifier with full gas recycle. The overall conversion efficiency, based on the LHV of the feedstock,
has been estimated at 47.7%, with 37.92% for FT liquids and 6.65% for net power. Hydrocracking of the waxy FT product is necessary to maximise diesel yields with these cracking conditions producing
60% (by mass) diesel, 25% kerosene and 15% naphtha. Hence, yields (according to the dry LHV) will be 24.68% for diesel, 6.33% for naphtha and 10.04% for kerosene.
Jul 1st 2022
Special Offer to Celebrate the Arrival of our TGA Equipment
For a limited period we are offering two TGA analyses for the price of one. Click here to view the relevant analysis package.
Celignis is a partner in 3 ongoing CBE projects: UNRAVEL
and PERFECOAT are RIA (Research and Innovation Action) projects, whilst VAMOS is an Innovation Action project.
Additionally, Celignis was a partner in the BIOrescue RIA project which was completed in 2019.
Presentation and Exhibition Stand at IBioIC Annual Conference
We will be exhibiting at the event in Glasgow, UK, on June 6-7
The IBioIC Annual Conference makes a welcome return to Glasgow. The title of the event is "The Just Transition of Biotechnology - How sustainable development in industrial biotechnology can secure Scotland's path to Net Zero".
We are pleased to be exhibiting at the event, on June 6-7 at the Technology & Innovation Centre in Glasgow, UK. We look forward to discussing our range of analytical and bioprocess development services for bioeconomy stakeholders.
Our CIO Lalithawill also be giving a presentation at the event about our participation in EnXylaScope a collaborative research project funded by the the Horizon Europe programme.
Here you can download soft copies of the brochure,
It explains the background to the project and its targets for xylan extraction and modification
An introductory video to the EnXylaScope project (funded by Horizon Europe and technically led by Celignis) has been released. It has been prepared by our fellow consortium partner Loba and details the rationale for the project and the technical advances that the project will make, leading to an efficient and commercially-viable process for the extraction of xylan and its modification so that it can be incorporated into a range of consumer products.
Click here to learn more about the project and Celignis's central contributions to it and here to view the video on YouTube.
It details the exciting progress already made in the project
The newsletter covers the project's activities in the search for xylan debranching enzymes (a WP with extensive involvement from Celignis) and on the extraction and modification of xylans for consumer products (a WP led by Celignis). Click here to view the newsletter.
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