The biorefinery concept – ExCo59 meeting summary
The biorefinery concept is critical to the development and integration of bioenergy into the world economy. However, a clear implementation path is needed. This includes R&D in critical technology areas, technology scale-up and pilot plants, and best management practices. Session A of the ExCo 59 meeting was designed to provide an overview of the commercialization of the biorefinery concept and the various strategies members of the Executive Committee 59 are using.
Thermochemical technologies are key components of the integrated biorefinery concept. Biorefineries must be able to utilize various feedstocks and integrate multiple conversion processes. One of the challenges faced by biorefineries is to develop thermochemical technologies that are technically and economically feasible at the appropriate scale for reasonably available biomass resources.
Bio-cascading is a term which describes processing that utilizes the feedstock material in its entirety, helping to make effective use of limited biomass resources. The integrated biorefinery attempts to utilize the entire feedstock stream to produce biofuels and valuable co-products. Some technical challenges for biorefineries include: hydrolysis degradation of products, fibers in corn ethanol products; incorporating new conversion R&D in existing biorefinery facilities; upgrading byproducts resulting from biodiesel and the sugar industry to be more efficient; and more efficient transportation.
Demonstration commercial plant experiences have been also presented during the meeting.