The pre-treatment concept for homogenizing biomass (also referred to as biological material from living, or recently living organisms) is a significant step in creating clean renewable energy. While some proponents claim to have cracked the code to unlocking this abundant resource, many difficulties (toxic byproducts, severe corrosion, damaged catalysts, etc) remain that interfere with the widespread use and conversion of this resource. Sarvel's Pre-treatment is a process technology using proprietary solvent recipes that address these issues and therefore opens this resource to development wherever organics are widely and continuously available.
Biomass pre-treatment is like the pre-wash cycle in a clothes washing machine. It is meant to rinse away the accumulated filth (alkalines, chlorides, heavy metals, etc) that cause problems in subsequent uses. Since organics (forest residuals, agricultural and municipal wastes) have many levels and combinations of reactive inorganic minerals, it is vital to pre-treat the material with special solvents to prepare it for higher value applications. This rinse does not create more toxic compounds. Rather it separates and distills the reactive minerals in ways they can be re-purposed as soil amendments and industrial chemicals. It is a clean and sustainable "closed-loop" process without generating any waste.
HIGH VALUE CONVERSION
The highest value organic waste conversion results by "cooking" the material instead of burning it. The process is much like using a pressure cooker on your stove. When pre-treated homogenized biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen (called gasifing), it produces an artificial gas called syngas much like natural gas. This gas can then be used to fuel generators to create electricity and heat(or cooling through absorption chillers). Pre-treated biomass also works well where there are high costs for electricity or feed-in tariffs paying premiums for renewable energy. Clean syngas can also be used other processes (like Fisher-Tropsch) to produce liquid fuels like bio-diesel and Jet-A.
As processes like Fischer-Tropsch use sensitive catalysts, clean syngas (as a result of pre-treatment) runs continuously without contaminating the catalyst. Consequently by cleaning and cooking the biomass(organics), diverse organic feedstock streams can be merged to provide sustainable inputs through economically viable processes. Sarvel delivers the pre-treatment technology for the patent holder (Thermorefinery Tehcnologies) to clean and homogenize biomass. The Thermorefinery process has been endorsed by an International clearing house for emerging technology named the Electric Power Research Institute or EPRI. Sarvel is recognized by EPRI in furthering the development of the pretreatment process.
The next stage is working directly with organizations that can provide sustainable organic resource supplies and stable locations to site pre-treatment facilities. In the US alone, the Department of Energy seeks to establish hundreds of pre-treatment facilities that can then feed the outputs to a centralized bio-refinery. The world anxiously awaits the delivery of this solution.
THE SARVEL PROCESS