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Evaluation of energy recovery potential of a biorefinery

The concept of biorefineries, where biomass is used to produce various products (e.g. transportation fuels, electricity, different chemicals), is considered an integral part of the process of reducing the dependency of fossil fuels. However, in order for the biorefineries to be economically viable much work still remains. One of the most important aspects into reaching a competitive solution is to utilise all available material in the processing scheme. In this context, biogas production through anaerobic digestion is an important solution as it can convert most waste streams into an energy containing gas. By performing biodegradation and methane potential tests with AMPTS II it is possible to determine the potential of each residual stream to produce energy with minimal effort.

Example of a process scheme of a biorefinery (De Jong and Jungmeier, 2015)

EXAMPLE 1: Determine the most efficient utilisation of the biomass

The biomass (i.e. triglyceride-, sugar-, starch- and lignocellulosic feedstock) that is used as raw material can be processes in many different ways to produce the large span of possible products in a biorefinery. In order to make the process competitive it is imperative to identify which processing routes give the highest revenue in comparison to the costs. One important aspect of such studies is to determine the methane potential of each processing stream to evaluate whether they also can be used to produce biogas and how that would influence the economy of the biorefinery. These kind of studies are ideally performed with the automatic batch fermentation system AMPTS II, as the simple operation of the system allows the user to screen many different types of samples simultaneously.

EXAMPLE 2: Evaluate the downstream influence of various process modifications

In order for a biorefinery to be competitive it is important to optimise each step in the process. However, even if a modification improves one step in the process it is not certain it is beneficial for the overall performance of the plant, as some of the downstream processes might be negatively affected. Anaerobic digestion is often used as a last step to recover the last resources of the biomass. It is therefore important to study how this process is influenced by the changes at an earlier stage in the process scheme. The most time and cost efficient way of doing this is by performing methane potential assays with the AMPTS II (Dreschke et al., 2015).

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AMPTS II - methane potential analysis tool

The AMPTS II is an efficient analytical instrument for conducting real-time BMP, anaerobic biodegradability and SMA assays, having sampling, analysis, recording and report generation fully integrated and automated. An evolution in methane potential analysis.
AMPTSII methane potential analysis tool The AMPTS II is a well engineered analytical device developed for on-line measurements of ultra low biomethane and biogas flows produced from the anaerobic digestion of any biological degradable substrate at laboratory scale.


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