|Dynamotive’s fast pyrolysis system.|
Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation, which develops and markets biomass-based biofuel technology and products based on its advanced fast-pyrolysis process, is introducing a higher energy grade of BioOil it is calling “Intermediate BioOil.” Intermediate BioOil is designed as an alternative fuel for the intermediate and heavy fuel oil markets and as a higher energy source intermediate for the production of synfuels from biomass.
Intermediate BioOil’s heat output averages 14% higher than the company’s standard BioOil, which has up to 55% of the heating value of diesel on a volume basis. Developed to compete functionally and on price-performance with commonly used industrial fuels such as No. 2 and No. 6 heating oil, Intermediate BioOil is a blend of 80% BioOil and 20% char ground to less than 8 microns.
Char, a granular solid with very low ash content and a high heating value at 23–32 gigajoules (GJ) per tonne, is a by-product of the pyrolysis process.
Dynamotive’s fast pyrolysis process rapidly heats prepared biomass feedstock to 450-500°C in an oxygen-free environment.
The feedstock flashes and vaporizes like throwing droplets of water onto a hot frying pan. The gases resulting from the feedstock flashing and vaporizing in the bubbling fluid bed reactor pass into a cyclone where char is extracted. The gases enter a quench tower where they are quickly cooled using BioOil already made in the process.
The BioOil condenses and falls into the product tank, while non-condensable gases are returned to the reactor to maintain process heating. The uncondensed, flammable gases are re-circulated to fuel approximately 75% of the energy needed by the pyrolysis process. The entire reaction from injection to quenching takes only two seconds.
The process produces three products: BioOil (60-75% by weight), char (15-20% wt.) and the non-condensable gases (10-20% wt.). Yields vary depending on the feedstock composition.
Intermediate BioOil produced at West Lorne recently received EcoLogo certification, having met the environmental criteria for industrial fuels as measured by Environment Canada’s Environmental Choice Program. EcoLogo signifies that the manufacturing process of the product and its production facility has been audited by a third party sanctioned by Environment Canada, and supported by empirical data on combustion tests conducted by both the company and authorized third parties.
This new product and the EcoLogo certification are important developments in Dynamotive’s drive to offer competitively priced, environmentally friendly, renewable fuel alternatives for conventional fuel and heating oils, as well as an economical feedstock for conversion into synthetic fuels, including syn-diesel.—Andrew Kingston, Dynamotive President and CEO
Although BioOil is not miscible in diesel, it can be emulsified with diesel. Two programs, one in Canada (CANMET) and the other in Italy, are focused on commercializing BioOil/diesel emulsions using surfactants. Emulsions of 10% to 30% BioOil in diesel would improve fuel stability and viscosity, reduce corrosiveness, and provide a cetane value similar to neat diesel, according to Dynamotive.
BioOil can also be gasified to syngas, which in turn can be further processed to produce synthetic fuels or bio-methanol, or applied directly to SO or PEM fuel cells. The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is also developing a steam gasification process to generate hydrogen from BioOil.
Dynamotive developed this new fuel grade at its West Lorne facility. The fuel underwent combustion, emission and certification tests throughout 2006. Dynamotive can also produce this fuel grade at its new Guelph, Ontario, plant and will seek certification for fuel from this plant once it is in operation. Construction is forecast to be completed in the spring. The new 200-tonne-per-day plant, located about 40 miles west of Toronto, Canada, is the company’s second BioOil plant in the province.