BPI announces startup of pilot plant featuring LTSD technology

By Bio-Process Innovation Inc. | February 13, 2015

Bio-Process Innovation Inc. has announced the completion of the construction of its 1-ton pilot plant and successful operation of its low temperature steep delignification (LTSD) pretreatment process at its pilot facility in Otterbein, Indiana.  The LTSD process is a highly efficient process technology for the pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass that allows for the effective conversion of biomass into ‘pulp’ (cellulose & reduced hemicellulose) and consequently, to fermentable sugars in the production of biobased fuels and chemicals through fermentation. 

The 1-ton pretreatment pilot system was designed by BPI with construction / fabrication taking place from April – September of 2014.  The pilot system has been operational since October 2014 and can process any variety of biomass (corn stover, switch grass, wheat straw, soft & hard wood) in the production a high quality, cellulose, pulp stream is easily hydrolyzed into glucose and xylose sugars.    

Unlike other pretreatment technologies, the LTSD process utilizes low inputs of non-toxic chemicals, oxygen and base, at mild reaction conditions to separate lignocellulosic biomass into its components; 1) lignin, 2) xylose, and 3) cellulosic pulp, and creates no toxic inhibitors. 

The LTSD technology was developed by Bio-Process Innovation and has been tested and improved over the last 10 years.  In laboratory and pilot trials, the LTSD process has been proven highly effective in the pretreatment of agricultural residues (corn stover and wheat straw), dedicated biomass (switch grass, miscanthus, etc.), and woody biomass (hard and soft woods, forestry residue, and pulp/paper waste), removing and recovering 90 percent of the lignin.  The process is currently available for commercial application in biorefinery systems and provides a number of economic and process benefits, including:

- Recovery of xylose, lignin, and cellulose pulp streams,
- High conversion rates and yields in reactions,
- Mild operating conditions
- Low chemical input and energy usage, 
- Low capital expense and operational costs,
- Creates no toxic chemicals or inhibitors,
- Environmentally and ecologically sustainable,
- Recovery and recycle of chemicals and enzymes

The successful LTSD pilot trials demonstrate the effectiveness of the process (removing up to 90 percent of biomass lignin), the commercial scalability of the LTSD process, and the economics of industrial application.  The LTSD pilot system allows for the integration of the pretreatment process with large scale hydrolysis, fermentation, distillation, and other process technologies.  The LTSD pretreatment produces the highest quality cellulose pulp at low capital and operating costs- making it the ideal solution for biomass ethanol production at the commercial scale.

The BPI pilot system includes a variety of process tanks, reactors, pretreatment systems, fermentation reactors (400 to 12,000 liters), hydrolysis reactors, multi-effect evaporation unit, membrane units, and distillation systems that are easily reconfigured for technology development and process scale-up.

Bio-Process works collaboratively with third party groups to provide research and development, engineering and piloting services. Bio-Process provides practical, effective, and economic process solutions to groups interested in technology development, pilot scale demonstration, and commercialization.