Biomass Densification

Biomass Densification, Previously: Mobile Pyrolyzer for a Biorefinery Feedstock, Jim Robinson, Conversion Processes, California, March, 2006, updated August, 2007.

Thank you for giving me publicity with your entry about my Biorefinery Feedstock process. I have change the title of my data sheet to Biomass Densification which I am attaching. My interests have changed to accepting pyrolysis which I had previously rejected because the pyrolysis oil had a pH pf 3,0 which caused a requirement for stainless tankers for transport. I have found 9i can send you a copy of the article)that catalytic pyrolysis with a HZSM-5 zeolite catalyst reduces the acid content by 80%


Jim Robinson


Three steps are required to make synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide from biomass. They are drying at 150oC., pyrolysis at 150 - 700oC. and steam reformation at 800 - 1100 o C. The drying and pyrolysis can be performed in a much smaller 40 ton per day size unit which can be trailer-mounted. The bio-char can be slurried in the bio-oil and transported to the Biorefinery much as crude oil is transported to a petroleum refinery. Biomass typically has 20% moisture and pyrolysis creates about 30% char, 30% oil and 30% combustible gas. the gas would be used as fuel for the drying and pyrolysis. A mobile dryer/pyrolyzer would have a capacity of 10 wet tons per hour . Thus, the slurry would reduce the volume of the biomass by about 50%. A problem with pyrolysis is that the pH of the pyrolysis oil is 3.0. USPatent6,066,751 discloses reduction of the oil acidity by means of a moderate thermal treatment , at temperatures in the range of 320 to 420oC, Catalytic pyrolysis with an HZSM-5 Zeolite catalyst reduces pyrolysis acidity by about 80%. Another possibility is a mobile dryer/pelletizer (briquetter) because pelletizing (briquetting) is another form of biomass densification.

Agricultural Residue Collection Site:
At an agricultural collection site, lignocellulosic residues from agricultural wastes are pyrolyzed to pyrolysis oil for transfer by tank truck to a biorefinery. Cereal straws with high silica content would coat the refractories of an incinerator with slag and are best suited to pyrolysis. The residues can also be pelletized (briquetted).

Forest Residue Collection:
Slash can be comminuted, dried and pyrolyzed to pyrolysis oil for transport to a biorefinery. Slash can also be pelletized (briquetted).

Proposed Waste Facility:

  1. A burn site or landfill for agricultural residues or forest slash would create a bio-char/bio-oil slurry or pellets (briquettes) for transport to a biorefinery.
  2. The biorefinery would steam reform the slurry or pellets (briquettes) to synthesis gas for an integrated gasifier combined cycle power plant or for catalytic synthesis of ethanol or gasoline. The biorefinery would primarily gasify a mixture of shredded RDF from MSW in sewage sludge.
  3. The year-around availability of forest slash would compensate for the seasonality of agricultural
  4. Conversion Processes can be located at under consultant, energy and chemicals.

1. Badger, Phillip C., Fransham, Peter,(Renewable Oil International, Florence AL USA), "Use of mobile fast pyrolysis plants to densify biomass and reduce biomass handling costs --A preliminary assessment", Biomass and Bioenergy, 30 (2006) 321-325.
2.Raffelt, Klaus; Henrich, Edmund; Koegel, Andrea; Stahl, Ralph; Steinhardt, Jorchim; Weirich, Freidhelm ( Forsahungszentrum Karlsruh, Institut fur Technische Chemie, Eggenstein-Leopoldschafen, Germany), "Stable Slurries from Biomass Pyrolysis Products for Entrained Flow Gasification", 2nd World Conferenceon Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection,10-14 May 2004, 914-917.
3.Henrich, Edmund; Koegel, Andrea; Stahl, Ralph; Weirich, Freidhelm ( Forsahungszentrum Karlsruh, Institut fur Technische Chemie, Eggenstein-Leopoldschafen, Germany), " Fast pyrolysis: a preparation step for large scale biomass gasification", 12th EU Conference on Biomass for Energy and Industry, Amsterdam, 17-22 June, 628-631.
4. Henrich, Edmund and Dinjus, E. ( Forsahungszentrum Karlsruh, Institut fur Technische Chemie, Eggenstein-Leopoldschafen, Germany), "Tar-free, high pressure synthesis gas from biomass", Expert Meeting on Pyrolysis and Gasification, Strasbourg, France. 30 Sept. -1 Oct. 2002.
5. Henrich, Edmund; Dinjus, Eckhard; Meier, Dietrich; ( Forsahungszentrum Karlsruh, Eggenstein-Leopoldschafen, Germany), "Method for pyrolysis and gasification of biomass",WO03033624,
April 24,2003.
6. Iliopuulis, E.F. et al,(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece}, "Catalytic pyrolysis of biomass towards the production of Biofuelsand fine chemicals".