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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB

1 The bioeconomy – an alternative source for the chemical industry Due to the growth of inexpensive production in the emerging countries, the chemical industry throughout the EU is faced with the challenge of staying ahead of competitors by means of innovation and more efficient manufacturing urrently, production in this branch of industry is largely based on the use of fossil fuels. More than 54 million tons of oil equivalent were consumed in 2010 [1]. These fuels do come primarily from competing or unstable regions outside the European nion dditionally, consumer behavior has a growing influ- ence on the chemical industry. To an ever greater extent consumers attach importance to environmentally friendly products, whose production and ingredients have no negative impact on the environment [1, 2]. As an alternative, by using biomass, industrial biorefineries have the potential to help ease the effects of climate change and to substitute the grow- ing demand for energy, fuel, chemicals and materials [1]. SteamBio – Conditioning for economical transportation The central priority is therefore to insure economical and sustainable supplies of biomass. Current research studies con- centrate mainly on topics related to its use as energy or ma- terials [3, 4]. So far, little attention has been paid to the long distances between the regions in Europe that can provide the necessary quantities of wood-based biomass (Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, etc.) and the few central industrial locations where the biomass is processed and used (Fig. 2). Therefore a concept for the decentralized preconditioning of the biomass is re uired to enable efficient transportation In order to make optimum use of the potential of the lignocel- lulose biomass resources, Fraunhofer IGB is developing a pro- cess that conditions lignocellulosic resources from forestry or agricultural residues using mobile plants locally in the region or on the site where they occur. Torrefaction by drying with superheated steam This is carried out by means of a fle ible torrefaction process Here, the biomass is heated in the inert atmosphere of pure steam for a certain process time. However, the process tem- perature lies below the value above which carbonization takes place, known as pyrolysis. The torrefaction process developed at IGB is based on its established process of drying by means of superheated steam at atmospheric pressure in the absence of air This energy-efficient technology has already proven its worth in a very wide range of drying applications. In this proj- ect, we have demonstrated that woody biomass can be torre- fied with superheated steam at below with minimum degradation of the lignocellulose. The process of torrefaction results in a hydrophobic and very easily grindable solid. Volatile compounds that do also escape together with the moisture that is turned to excess steam are separated from the steam and recovered as highly valuable by-products. Unlike with conventional torrefaction, in the clean atmosphere of the teamBio reactor concept the torrefied biomass is not contaminated by exhaust gases. As a result, the volatile in- gredients obtained are also of high purity and can be used as high quality products. A further advantage is the possibility of continuous process control. The key objective of the SteamBio 126 TORREFACTION TO CONDITION LIGNO- CELLULOSIC BIOMASS FOR TRANSPORTATION Simone Mack, Sukhanes Laopeamthong, Siegfried Egner ENERGY 2 Main forestry zones in remote areas Urgent need of efficient trans-European delivery of biomass to chemical sites Chemical sites Forest % share of land area 0–10 11–25 26–50 51–75 76–100