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Feedstock (Biomass)

Grasses

EBRI offers research and development of sustainable technologies that utilise biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels (as a non-renewable source of both energy and commodity chemicals). Biomass is commonly referred to as feedstock.    

Feedstocks can be classified depending on their:

  • Origin (e.g. terrestrial or marine)
  • Composition (e.g. cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin)
  • Source (e.g. first generation and second generation or non-food based biomass)
  • Whether it has been subjected to any bio or thermochemical treatment (e.g. virgin and non-virgin)

Depending on these individual characteristics, some feedstocks might be suitable for certain bioenergy processes and not others. For example, feedstocks rich in lignin, because of its phenolic nature, are key in processes which aim to maximise phenolic compounds. However this is not a suitable feedstock for Anaerobic Digestion (AD) as bacteria cannot easily digest this component.

As EBRI conducts research into many technologies, researchers can utilise many types of feedstocks. It also means that the residue from one process can be used as a feedstock in another.

Feedstock research at EBRI

Here at EBRI a variety of feedstocks are subjected to either biological or thermochemical treatments to produce energy.   

EBRI - wood chip

Miscanthus, sugar cane bugus and wood are being used as test feedstocks in EBRI’s fast pyrolysis research to produce biofuels.

EBRI’s Pyrogas research project is using intermediate pyrolysis to process AD residues, poultry manure and sewage sludge among other feedstocks.

EBRI’s SUPERGEN research project is looking at increasing energy yield through the integration of pyrolysis with AD and is utilising residues from MSW (municipal solid waste). De-inked sludge and other waste materials from the paper industry have also been tested for gasification and pyrolysis applications.

Other feedstock research at EBRI has utilised pig manure, compost, dairy fibre, meat and bonemeal and spent Brewers’ grain for fast and/or intermediate pyrolysis research.

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