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miércoles, 24 de enero de 2018

Alfred State College completes the funding for the construction and initial operation of its Biorefinery Development and Commercialization Center

Type of post: NEWS IN BRIEF.

Alfred State, a residential college of technology of the New York State (USA), is leading the efforts to build a Biorefinery Development and Commercialization Center (BDCC) that could boost the forest bioeconomy sector in the Southern Tier area. The Governor Andrew Cuomo has included 6.6 M$ for this initiative in his proposed budget (see news, 12/01/2018). This commitment to include BDCC funding in the state budget completes the full 12.2 M$ required for the construction and initial operation of the facility. The center will provide the opportunity to be involved in a learning factory to enhance student programs at the college.

The BDCC is a prototype to demonstrate a Hot Water Extraction (HWE) process that produces valuable chemical assets from wood, energy crops and agricultural residuals. Through this technology, approximately 25% of the chipped biomass is converted into value-added products such as advanced fuels and biobased chemicals for plastics. The remaining 75% produces modified wood chips that have improved qualities to be used in paper, fuel pellets and particleboard.

Figure 1. Wood chips before and after being subjected to Hydro-Torrefaction (extracted from ABS website)

The process has been patented by Applied Biorefinery Sciences (ABS). It is called Hydro-Torrefaction™ and cooks woody biomass in plain water at relatively elevated temperatures (150-200°C). Under heat and pressure, hemicellulose and other compounds are freed from their bonds inside the woody biomass and migrate into the hot water bath. The aggressiveness of the environment is not sufficient to break down the cellulose matrix. The residual biomass, although darker in color, remains structurally intact.

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