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:
- 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:
- Three Applikon steam-in-place bacterial fermenters, two skid mounted 70 litre units and one bench mounted 30 litre unit.
- Bioreactor system for rapid bioprocess development.
- 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.