The processes of biomass conversion with appropriate equipment to produce fuels, power and value-added chemicals from biomass is known to be biorefinery. Biorefinery takes advantages of the several components in biomass and their intermediates as they produce several products and therefore value of the derived biomass feedstock is maximized.
For an example, biorefinery can produce both low-volume but high value chemicals and low-value but high-volume products such as biodiesel and bioethanol. Along with which it can generate electricity and process heat through other technology. The highly value products increases profit and power production helps to lower energy costs and reduce emissions from long-established power plant facilities.
The thermochemical biomass conversion process is complicated, and uses components, configurations, and different operating conditions. Biomass is initially converted into syngas, and syngas is later converted into an ethanol-rich mixture. However, syngas created from biomass contains contaminants such as tar and Sulphur that messes with the conversion of the syngas into products. These messes can be overcome by tar-reforming catalysts and catalytic reforming processes. This not only cleans the syngas, it also enhances it, improving process and ultimately cutting the cost of the resulting ethanol.
At most places in the world the concept of biorefinery is still in initial stages. Problems like raw material availability, feasibility in product supply chain, scalability of the model are hindering its development at commercial-scales. Although the technology is still in early stages, but it holds the key to the optimum utilization of wastes and natural resources that we have have always tried to achieve.
Join “9th Annual Congress and Expo on Biofuelsand Bioenergy” to held in Dubai, UAE on April 16-17, 2018 to gain and share knowledge about biorefineries.