by Anna Simet (Biomass Magazine) … Not only is Abengoa Biomass Energy LLC forging the path to commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol, it is taking a new road when it comes to fuel.
Besides cellulosic ethanol, the Hugoton, Kan., facility, located in the southwest corner of the state, also produces power, a segment of the facility that was brought on line in December. Abengoa began conceptualizing a plan for a joint power and cellulosic ethanol plant about 10 years ago. While navigating through pilot- and demonstration-scale developments, the master blueprint, which was modified over time, began to take its final shape.
The power source will be primarily corn stover—the same feedstock used for liquid fuel production—wheat straw, prairie grasses, and, potentially, some dedicated energy crops such as switchgrass, as there is a switchgrass farm in the area, Standlee says.
Once fuel is brought on site, it will be treated and stored similarly, but some will be processed for ethanol and some for power. First, baled biomass is unloaded onto conveyors supplying grinding lines, or at a biomass storage field, both of which are constantly active. A grinding process begins with delivering bales to a single-process, in-feed conveyor line consisting of a pan-style chain conveyor capable of moving two side-by-side bales. The two grinding lines are equipped with an automatic bale destringer, rotochopper grinder with discharge conveyor and conveyor magnets, and dust hood on the in-feed. Next, displacement blowers pneumatically transfer the ground biomass to either the enzymatic hydrolysis plant weigh belt or biomass-fired boiler metering bins.
In addition, the remaining lignin from the ethanol production process—what’s left over after sugars are extracted from the feedstock—will be recycled back to the boiler as fuel.
Primarily, we wanted to make sure we’re independent and not subject to natural gas markets. We have feedstock coming in, and lignin is a byproduct that is a good source for power, so it just seemed to make sense for us.” READ MORE