Secondary Processing

Secondary processing pilot laboratory

The pilot laboratory is an insulated mezzanine structure covering 168m2, comprising pressurised thermochemical systems for the pre-treatment, at pilot scale, of both solid and liquid phase biomass based feedstocks, together with a comprehensive array of both pilot and laboratory scale continuous centrifugal and cross-flow filtration systems suitable for a wide range of Biorefining applications. These include:

Pre-treatment equipment:

  • A steam explosion rig for lignocellulosic pre-treatment. It is fitted with a 25kW integral steam boiler, capable of high temperature and pressure pre-treatment (>10 bar/180C) of lignocellulosic feedstocks.
  • Skid mounted dual duty pasteurizer capable of rapidly heating liquid feedstock from 4°C to 90°C running at a rate of either 50 or 500 litres/ hour

Bioconversion / Fermentation:

Separation systems:

  • Two CEPA Z41 floor standing continuous (batch) solid/liquid clarifying centrifuges suitable for harvesting fermentation biomass.
  • Horizontal decanter centrifuge capable of >1000 litres/hour for continuous centrifugation of liquid feedstocks where the solids content is >3% w/v.
  • Mobile skid mounted ultra/ micro cross-flow filtration pilot plant.
  • Mobile skid mounted nano filtration/ reverse osmosis system.

The system is rated to 40 bar and fitted with in-line digital temperature, pressure and flow sensors Bench-top cross flow filtration system.

Preparative and analytical capabilities:

  • Hiden Analytical HPR20 QIC R&D mass spectrometer for specialist gas analysis research.
  • Varian 3400 FID GC with autosampler.
  • Dionex/Shodex HPLC system with refractive index detector for carbohydrate analysis.
  • Large-scale six channel preparative flash chromatography system.
  • One large (20 litre) and several small-scale rotary evaporators.
  • Additional laboratory equipment including: floor standing and bench-top shaking incubators, Hot Box oven, autoclave, bench top centrifuges, balances, freeze drying facilities.


A variety of opportunities are available to develop commercial activities. These include:

  • Analysis of plant biomass for e.g. bioactive compounds or other molecules of interest
  • Processing and isolation of bioactives and natural products from plant biomass
  • Conversion of woody plant biomass into pellets
  • Production of transport fuels from plant biomass
  • Production and isolation of fine chemicals from plant biomass
  • Production of biochar, activated charcoal and bio-oil from biomass
  • Production of precursors for bio-packaging
  • Life cycle assessment, economic analysis and system optimization associated with biorefining and the production of bio-products.

Aberystwyth Capabilities

Steam Explosion Pilot Facility

CEPA and GEA-disc stack Centrifuges

Dual Duty Pasteuriser

Biotage Flash 75 Radial Compression

Nano Filtration/Reverse Osmosis Pilot Plant

Sharples P600 Decanter Centrifuge

Steam in Place Fermenters

Ultra/Micro Filtration Pilot Plant

Buchi R-153 20 litre Rotary Evaporator