Conference Dates

June 16-21, 2019


California is the fifth largest economy in the world and has about 40 million inhabitants. The California federal government has decided to stick to the Paris climate change agreement by 2030. For many years, California has been feeling the effects of global warming caused by the largest tree extinction in modern history, a five-year dry spell and resulting bark beetle plague, and severe forest fires coupled with heavy winds, heavy rains, and rising sea levels. California is therefore promoting the use of biogenic fuels in the transport sector. In spring 2017, there was a grant funding opportunity from the California Energy Commission (CEC) in the program: "Research and Demonstration to Decarbonize Transportation Fuels". Funding supported innovative processes for production of bio-intermediate fuels. to be further used for the generation of sustainable low-carbon fungible biofuels in California's transport sector. In order to meet the given budget, a modular pyrolysis system with an ablative reactor was proposed by the authors. The advantage over fluidized bed processes lies in the better space-time yield, i.e. the systems can be kept small and fit in standardized shipping containers, since neither a fluid heat carrier nor a cycle gas is needed. After careful consideration of the submitted project proposals, our concept was considered worthy of support so that in October 2018 the contracts could be signed. The project duration is 3.5 years. The American business partner is Biogas Energy, Richmond, CA. According to the contract, the pyrolysis plant must produce at least 50,000 gallons (about 190,000 L) of bio-oil. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were two patents on ablative fast pyrolysis reactors. On the one hand the BtO process of PYTEC GmbH, Hamburg with a disk reactor (Fig. 1a), on the other hand the drum reactor, consisting of stator and rotor, Aston University, Birmingham, UK (Figs. 1b, c). In both systems wood chips are pressed against a hot, rotating surface (about 600 ° C) of the reactor. While the disk reactor of PYTEC needs a complex, multiple feeder system which was implemented in a pilot plant with a capacity of 250 kg/h, the drum reactor comes with a conventional two-stage lock hopper system, since only in the reactor the wood chips are being pressed between the walls of the stator and the rotor using a special blade system. The latter fast pyrolysis reactor system was brought to pilot maturity in recent years by Energolesprom (ELP), Kazan, RU and is now being used after some modifications in California. The plant, with a throughput of 500 kg/h, will be built on the site of Western Place Management Authorities close to Sacramento. Expected start of operation is summer 2020. For start-up demolition wood will be the preferred feedstock. Later on biomass from forestry and agriculture will be processed.

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