Products and services

BioFuel Technology A/S offers engineering and advisory services as well as dedicated equipment’s for key mechanical unit operations including:

  • Plug flow hydrolysers, enzyme mixers and associated utilities
  • Briquetting presses and systems
  • Ceramic membranes and systems solutions
  • Commercial medium and large-scale cellulosic ethanol plants
  • Commercial medium and large-scale biomethane plants
  • Engineering and advisory services
  • Research and development services

Further services include the licensing of CELLEBRIQTM and cooperation with licensees. BFT is a member of the Franchising Industry. BFT offers franchises to those wishing to develop and operate branded, proven BioFuel facilities and/or Key Technology Units for production facilities.
BFT employs a “disruptive” model, which can change the entire infrastructure for energy production and consumption, helping us toward a carbon neutral world. It provides an economic opportunity for Energy Companies, biomass producers (farmers), other organic producers, entrepreneurs, and governmental agencies as operating partners and franchisees to build and operate proven, successful BFT Plants. The Business Model enables franchisee fees, financing fees, override royalties and sales to and from BFT subsidiary companies while leveraging the resources, dedication, and operations of franchisees.

The BFT business model is not a pure ownership model nor is it a pure franchise model; it is a hybrid of the two approaches. BFT will own a higher portion of plants, take more risk and be more involved in business decisions relating to specific plants than would a typical franchise organization. In the case of a pure franchise business model, the franchise organization and franchisee are in near total alignment on goals. However, the operating partners who choose to “franchise” with BFT may have their own, local environmental and/or user/investor goals, in addition to those shared with BFT. The hybrid franchise business model allows both parties to meet their respective goals.

BFT and subsidiaries assist franchisees to market, develop and operate processing plants, systems and technology that efficiently and economically generate Biomethane, Bioethanol and co-products from agricultural, livestock and organic feed stock.

The specific niche aspect is that BFT will both franchise and finance these plants and ancillary equipment with BFT participation in each project. BFT participation will range from selling the Technology Units, plant design and operating “recipe” to the buyer, to building turnkey plants for our own account, and controlling and operating all aspects of the plant project. In each case, BFT will finance or assist in the financing of the projects. The main financial bodies available to BFT are the Danish Governmental IFU and EKF organizations.

Franchises and Customers:

  • Biofuel plant owners
  • Local and regional energy stakeholders
  • Energy companies
  • Large scale farming operations and co-operations
  • Agricultural entrepreneurs and developers (suppliers and stakeholders in AG business)
  • Municipalities and industries with organic wastes, abattoirs, green houses, breweries, vegetable, catering, household and fish farm waste, vegetable oil mills, biodiesel waste, and other food wastes

Benefits to Franchisees and customers:

  • Biofuel production (Bioethanol and Biomethane or any other biofuel)
  • Natural gas production (including CNG)
  • Combined Heat and Power, CHP, from Biogas
  • Solving the residue and waste problems and utilizing resources for fuel and fertilizer
  • Significant additional income keeping money and working opportunities in rural communities, developing/supporting food production
  • Elimination of Environmental and GHG emissions
  • Servicing commercial, industrial, and municipal waste producers

1 Plug flow hydrolysers, enzyme mixers and associated utilities

Non-food biomass has the single largest potential for de-carbonizing the transport sector in the short to medium term. However, there are generic bottlenecks in biomass logistics and processing which need to be overcome in order to move biomass processing to commercially levels.

Biomass is a disperse resource with a low energy density, which, contrary to oil, cannot be pumped from a hole in the ground. It must be collected and transported which adds costs and complexity. Furthermore, the actual processing of the biomass requires an upfront pressurized pretreatment which conserves all elements of the biomass for further processing.

Therefore, efficient logistic systems and technologies as well as high yielding and capital extensive pretreatment systems are pivotal for a commercially viable advanced biofuels sector. We have addressed both of these challenges and builds on innovative processes compatible with current industrial processes for a turnkey advanced biofuel technology. The basic elements in the technology are a unique system for biomass pre-processing and compression “the briquetting” which subsequently enables a low-cost pretreatment technology with a high recovery of all biomass components. The later section on briquetting shows a graphic illustration of de-centralized briquetting stations providing feedstock supply to a centralized facility designed to exploit the physical properties of briquettes. Satellite briquetting stations compress feedstocks to densities 4 times greater than those achieved in traditional bales, removing all air content and altering the physical structure of the fibrous material. Feedstock briquettes can then be transported to the ethanol plant with greater efficiency. Briquettes are fed directly into a low-cost, horizontal, unagitated steam pretreatment reactor via a simple, inexpensive feed system. Enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation and distillation are then conducted using industry standard technologies.

Through the simple expedient of using briquetted feedstock in a low-cost, unagitated steam pretreatment system, the following improvements in business case for autohydrolysis-based processing is readily achieved:

Significantly reduced capital cost for the pretreatment system
Because briquetted feedstocks exhibit dramatically enhanced water absorbing properties, heat transfer during steam pretreatment is significantly more efficient. As a consequence, there is no requirement for agitation to achieve homogenous pretreatment at high mass loads. This makes it possible for biomass to be handled at high capacity with reduced incidence of processing bottlenecks using a simple, low-cost, pretreatment system.

Significantly reduced tendency for processing bottlenecks at large scale
The steam heat exchange and water retention properties of ordinary raw feedstocks at reactor temperatures are such that the greater the mass of feedstock, i.e. the greater the capacity of the pretreatment reactor, the more inhomogeneous the pretreatment will be, in the absence of agitation above and beyond that provided by a transport screw alone. Because of improved steam heat transfer and water absorption properties, briquetted feedstocks do not suffer from this significant source of processing bottlenecks. Pretreatment of briquetted feedstock using an unagitated reactor is homogenous without dependency on the mass load.

Significantly reduced operating cost from pH adjustment
[The chemistry of autohydrolysis pretreatment occurs differently with unagitated briquettes compared with ordinary raw feedstocks pretreated in agitated conventional systems. As a consequence, pH of pretreated briquette whole slurry is much higher using ordinary feedstocks. The need for pH adjustment to bring process streams within the pH optima of ethanol producing microorganisms and/or enzyme preparations is correspondingly reduced.

Significantly improved recovery of C5 sugars
The chemistry of autohydrolysis pretreatment occurs differently with unagitated briquettes compared with ordinary raw feedstocks pretreated in agitated conventional systems. As a consequence, loss of C5 sugars to unwanted byproduct reactions is significantly reduced with briquettes.

Significantly reduced toxicity of the soluble component of pretreated biomass against enzyme preparations
The chemistry of autohydrolysis pretreatment occurs differently with unagitated briquettes compared with ordinary raw feedstocks pretreated in agitated conventional systems. As a consequence, toxicity of the soluble component of pretreated biomass is significantly reduced with briquettes. Toxicity of the soluble component has been cited by the industry as a very significant problem with autohydrolysis-based cellulosic ethanol production.

Reduction of energy consumption during pretreatment
Because of enhanced water absorbing properties of briquetted feedstock, water content can be controlled effectively. In this manner, energy cost of bringing water content of the feedstock to reactor temperature can be significantly reduced.

Relatively to present industry standards the following improvements are on balance achieved with the two-step approach – briquetting and plug flow hydrolysis:

  • Overall ethanol production per tons raw material can be increased by at least 10% simply due to conservation of feedstock lignocellulose through optimal feedstock logistics based on briquetting
  • Ethanol production from C5 content can be increased by at least 20%
  • Capital cost for pretreatment can be reduced by at least 50%
  • Operating cost for pH adjustment chemicals can be reduced by at least 25%
  • Processing bottlenecks arising from pretreatment can be avoided and continuous operation maintained at high capacity.
  • Energy consumption in pretreatment can be reduced by at least 15%
    and with the down-stream processing further achievements is achieved
  • Energy consumption in waste water treatment can be reduced by at least 50%.
  • The cascade of value-added products increases the financial stability of the ethanol enterprise – the cost of side products, the biomethane, liquid CO2, possibly yeast cream, and vinasse fertilizer almost add up to the cost of the ethanol.

Illustration of the plug flow reactor:

As may be seen from the illustration the plug flow reactor is very simple in its design with a simple feeding system and biomass outlets. All rendered possible with the altered properties of the feedstock due to the initial pre-processing.

The reactor is designed as a simplified version of conventional reactors with decade long running track records.

2 Briquetting presses and systems

As mentioned above one key technology and starting point of everything is the processing of raw straw to high density briquettes. It is key because it serves at least three major functions:

  • It provides for the logistic of large-scale supplies of raw material
  • It is a pre-treatment of the straw allowing for direct injection into any bioreactor and subsequent effective processing and high yields
  • It is a physical or mechanical practical handling of normally bulky light weight straw by high density briquettes. These are easily received and conveyed directly into the bioreactor by standard equipment.

We design these functions in any capacity and in any layout. Below is one example of a layout with a capacity of at least 150.000 tons straw annually. It is designed to received straw in big bales from trailers, where the trailers in this case are unloaded by means of forklifts and directly or indirectly loaded onto a straw table conveying the straw into the straw plant. The layout is modulated into groups each having a capacity of at least 50.000 tons annually.

The elements of as straw plant include:

  • Feeding table for big bales and Bale breaker
  • Hammer mill and air filter
  • Buffer / mixer and Dosing silo
  • The briquette presses
  • Control panels and Cooling lines

One module consisting of 6 mechanical presses and straw equipment. Straw big bales are loaded onto the straw table with a forklift.

The 150.000 tons modulized layout and fitted into a building with trailers unloading big bales of straw:

The illustration displays a 150.000 tons straw and biofuel plant from the perspective of the raw material receiving end of the plant. The individual press developed for high capacities is the BP 7510.

Three modules fitted into a building

The mechanical briquetting press BP7510 has an advanced design and is the worlds’ largest single line briquetting press. The double feeding system guarantees high capacity, regardless of the density of the raw material. The press is equipped with an advanced control system that allows internet access. It is possible to monitor, operate or search for failures and even to reprogram the PLC-function via an internet connection. All operation texts and failure notices can be shown in up to 16 languages. The log function is an important tool for analyzing and improving the briquetting process.

The BP 7510 is an extremely strong briquette maker with heavy bronze bearings and a sturdy housing made of high tensile steel and fixed on heavy steel reinforced concrete foundation which secures a quiet and safe operation with extremely low vibration level.
A unique piston and die system with exchangeable piston crown and wear rings is available for different types of briquettes from various raw materials.

The press is mainly suitable for high capacity production of industrial briquettes with a 6-16% moisture and a capacity of up to 4000 kg/h. Briquettes can be round with a diameter of up to 120 mm or square 100×100 mm.

Main Features and Benefits

  • Modern design with streamlined fiberglass covers
  • Touch screen operation via control panel or your iPad
  • Latest PLC software for control system and internet log in
  • Service-friendly and easy to clean
  • Easy to service
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Die system with exchangeable wearing to reduce costs
  • Efficient oil/water cooling
  • Heavy built and suitable for running
  • 3-shift operation
  • Briquette size: Ø110, 120, 100x100mm
  • Capacity: 2000-4000 kg/h

3 Ceramic membranes and systems solutions

Fermentation of cellulosic matter requires a large quantity of liquid in order to suspend the dry matter. Even if the dry matter content in fermentation liquids is as high as 20%, water to the tune of 80% is needed for enzymes and yeast to work efficiently and unimpaired. Therefore, managing large quantities of fermentation liquid or stillage is a significant aspect of cellulosic ethanol production.

We have developed a cost-effective systems solution with the use of commercial ceramic membranes as well as RO-membranes allowing cost effective post treatment of fermentation liquid, be it from an ethanol plant or any biogas plant digesting agricultural or industrial wastes.
More importantly, the systems solution is well integrated with producing biogas from stillage, thus increasing the production of biogas.

Below is a simple illustration of one such solution along with a fullscale example at Krogenskær Biogas, Denmark:

The liquids following the separation procedures; from the left UF-permeate, UF concentrate, and RO permeate.

4 Commercial medium and large-scale cellulosic ethanol plants

We are offering commercial scale medium to large scale cellulosic ethanol plants. We offer any service including the design, supplies of dedicated mechanical unit operations such as briquetting and plug flow hydrolysis, and others, as well as turn key supplies of the entire facility in cooperation with peers.

The typical input output of a medium sized plant is:

Input of 450,000 tons of wheat straw annually. With an average chemical composition, this quantity contains:

  • Straw total 450.000 tons
  • Water 50.000 tons
  • Straw dry matter 400.000 tons hereof:
    • 40% cellulose,
    • 30% hemicellulose,
    • 15% lignin,
    • 10 protein, carbohydrates, others,
    • and 5% minerals

The outputs are:

  • 100,000 tons of ethanol (99.5%)
  • 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide
  • 150,000 tons of biogas
    • 60 mill m3 methane; 60 mill m3 of CO2;
    • 40.000 tons CH4 and 110,000 tons of CO2
  • 25,000 tons of yeast dry matter (potential and optional)
  • 25,000 tons of fertilizer dry matter
  • 50,000 tons of water

The design of the plants is characteristic of individual pre-treatment lines of a capacity of 10 tons dry matter per hour and therefore an annual capacity of up to 25.000 tons ethanol per line.
The 100.000 tons ethanol plant thus includes 5 identical pre-treatment lines producing mash for one subsequent fermentation and distillation line.

The larger commercial plants such as a large-scale plant in Harbin, China, simply adds more lines to process additional feedstock. This design allows for any scale to be cost effectively produced and subsequently commissioned to full scale running. Below is a simplified version of the site layout, where it may be seen on the left-hand side, that 15 individual pre-treatment lines receives the finished briquettes to be finally processed into mash before fermentation, distillation and further processing. This particular plant is therefore designed to produce 300.000 metric tons cellulosic ethanol annually.

The plant is owned by Mr. Wang, a long-term business partner of Biofuel Technology A/S in China, with Biofuel Technology A/S having a substantial stake of the plant.

5 Commercial medium and large-scale biomethane plants

With the introduction of CELLEBRIQTM the cellulosic revolution of anaerobic digestion is born.

It is now possible to mobilize the vast quantities of cellulosic residues from agriculture, and forestry, and at the same time unlocking their biofuel potentials.

The quantity of agricultural residues available for anaerobic digestion in Europe is substantial. If used for anaerobic digestion it can potentially replace the natural gas used in Europe; if partly used for transportation fuels, it can replace all gasoline and still add significant quantities of bio natural gas to the grid.

(Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews; Volume 44, April 2015, Pages 519-529) Optimal energy use of agricultural crop residues preserving soil organic carbon stocks in Europe; Monfort et al)
As is seen from the picture, agricultural residues can be found throughout Europe.

Agricultural residues, NOT energy crops, do not compete with food production; it supplements food production, and it is therefore of priority to phase out any use of maize or any other energy crop grown on agricultural land; agricultural land simply must be reserved for production of food and partly conservation of climate, environment, and biodiversity.

Any sized 2nd generation biogas plant can be designed as straw only plants and plants digesting a combination of several feedstocks.

For any typical agricultural biogas plant, all use of energy crops can be phased out and replaced by straw: As one example, the EMMA plant in Bulgaria utilizes approximately 40 tons cattle slurry and 20 tons briquetted wheat straw on a daily basis along with other wastes:

Dry matterBulk tons per dayBulk tons per yearTons dry matter per yearTotal Nm3 methane per year
Cattle manure6 %40 14,600876292,000
Straw briquettes90 %207,30065701,825,000
Silage (triticale)30 %10 3,6501095273,750
Sunflower oil filter cake100 %2.2800800640,000
Recycled digestate13750,000
Total volume20976350

This input menu is sufficient to run a Jenbacher 420 gas engine at 100% capacity and almost at 100% uptime! It is a brilliant example of the CELLEBRIQTM revolution in play.

The combination of liquid cattle or pig manure with straw is an unbeatable input recipe, also referred to as the Bonde recipe. The liquid manures provide necessary macro- and micro-nutrients and suspension media and the briquetted wheat straw provide virtually all the dry matter and therefore the bulk of the biogas production, i.e. 80% or more.

Also, in most instances, the straw is simply significantly cheaper in terms of the raw material cost per Nm3 methane produced in comparison with energy crops (silage) and for that matter also often various waste products (glycerin).

The future of anaerobic digestion
Anaerobic digestion has a key role to play in managing agricultural, industrial and municipal waste, and thereby to recycle nutrients to agricultural land for new crop production. The importance of this role cannot be overstated, and cellulosic matter is one key to make this happen.

A typical biogas plant digests animal slurry, such as cattle and pig slurries or any other dilute industrial waste with little dry matter, and therefore little gas output. Because of low efficiencies and low output and limited valuation of the external benefits, economies may be difficult. However, by simply adding 10% of briquetted feedstock to any conventional agricultural digester, the biogas yields more than doubles to a final yield of 350 liter methane per kg volatile solids (see figure below).

The full-scale experiment was run for 115 days (more than three times HRT) in two CSTR (30 m3). The two reactors were similar in design, i.e. constructed in stainless steel and heated by an external water jacket. Both reactors operated under thermophilic conditions (50oC). One reactor was fed 100% Cattle Manure and is called the CM reactor, the other with a mixture CM and Briquetted Straw and called CM + BS reactor. In the CM + BS reactor, BS was added to a final concentration of 9% of fresh matter (mass mass-1). Every Friday and Monday, the CM+ BS reactor was fed double the amount of BS in order to compensate the lack of straw addition during weekends.

(Ref: Biosystems Engineering 139 (2015) 16-24 The efficiency of shredded and briquetted wheat straw in anaerobic co-digestion with dairy cattle manure. Cristiane A.N. Xavier a, Veronica Moset, Radziah Wahid, Henrik B. Møller.)

The addition of briquetted straw may not only double the gas output; it may constitute 80-90 % of the total gas output by simply co-digestion liquid animal slurries with briquetted straw. In fact, the combination of slurries with briquetted straw allows setting the biogas output at the level needed to run any biogas installation, including the gas engines or upgrading systems efficiently. The quantity of straw can be added according to reaching 100% capacity of installations and almost 100% uptime.
However, straw may not only be co-digested with slurries. Large scale straw-only plants are absolutely feasible producing for instance 100 million Nm3 biogas on 150.000 tons of straw annually. An illustration of such a plant is displayed below:

Here, trucks are supplying straw big bales, which are forklifted into the straw and briquetting line and subsequently directly injected into the digestors.

In this specific case, the digesters include a specific hyper thermophilic digestion operated at 70oC in up front thermophilic digesters in order to maximize the biogas yield from straw.

Such straw-only biogas plants may be situated in industrial clusters and industry parks and not necessarily in rural areas because they operate independently of other agricultural wastes.

A new dawn in anaerobic digestion
Cellulosic feedstock is now readily available for biogas production.

Cellulosic feedstock can be sourced and developed for any plant size; it can be mobilized from the disperse quantities found in open agricultural landscapes, pre-processed, and compressed into high density briquettes easy to store and transport to any plant or a series of plants.

The pre-processing removes gravel, soils, and sand from straw, discards fouled straw and dries moist straw if necessary; thus, the organic matter is conserved when pre-processed and briquetted.

The cellulosic matter is of course also available for large scale production of advanced biofuels, but this is not exclusive to anaerobic digestion. In fact, the CELLEBRIQTM is designed to benefit from all organic matter in the feedstock. The cellulosic ethanol plant converts most of the cellulose and hemicellulose to bioethanol, but un-fermented matter is subsequently digested to biogas. The totality of the plant thus converts 100% of the organic matter into value added fuels.

We are looking forward to fueling the future.

6 Engineering and advisory services

We have an experienced staff of engineers and designers within our group and with our peers.

We provide any service in the field of cellulosic ethanol and anaerobic digestion alongside related areas of environmental approvals and permitting of biofuel plants.

Services include, but are not limited to, feasibility studies, pre-engineering, and engineering of turn key plants or aspects of any biofuel plant.

7 Research and development services

We are experts in chemical and microbiological processes, which are at core of any biofuel plant.

We engage in R&D projects with clients, peers, and universities and are often spear heading such projects including writing funding proposals to national and international funds.

We are proud that we have been engaged, and still are engaged, with all three major universities in Denmark; the Copenhagen, Aarhus and Aalborg Universities.