Pilot scale de-risking of performance and application of AFEX™ technology
Wednesday, April 30, 2014: 9:45 AM
Grand Ballroom D-E, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Timothy Campbell1, Farzaneh Teymouri1, Bryan D. Bals1, David Senyk1, John Glassbrook1, Chandra D. Nielson1, Josh J. Videto1, Spencer Beatty1, Janette M. Moore1 and Margie Magyar2, (1)MBI International, Lansing, MI, (2)Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI
There are several challenges in capturing the value of agricultural biomass: 1) cost-effectively altering the biomass to make the constituent sugars accessible, 2) handling, storing and hauling low-density biomass from the field to the site of eventual use, and 3) establishing the upgraded biomass as a readily tradable commodity with clear economic value for the diverse players involved in its production, processing and use.

AFEXTM, our transformative biomass processing technology simultaneously addresses all three challenges. AFEX increases sugar access substantially by treating the biomass with ammonia at moderate pressures and temperatures. AFEX treated biomass can also be easily and economically pelletized.  AFEX pellets offer biorefineries much simpler supply logistics and competitive costs compared to other biomass sugar options. In addition, they provide an alternate market by acting as a superior source of energy for ruminant animals compared to untreated biomass. 

MBI has scaled up AFEX process to pilot scale (two 450 L reactors) to demonstrate commercial viability of the technology. The pilot plant has been in operation since August 2013. Corn stover treated in AFEX pilot scale reactor is pelletized and being used for development of downstream applications for AFEX pellets, namely as a fermentation feedstock and as a ruminant feed ingredient.

This presentation will highlight features of the AFEX reactor design and operation, and present data on the efficacy of the pilot reactor compared to laboratory benchmarks.  The presentation will also report salient progress in development of downstream applications and will summarized the techno-economic value proposition for the technology.