Mapping UK Bioenergy Research 

Developed by the EBRI Group at Aston University, Mapping UK Bioenergy Research Stakeholders provides a current, holistic overview of bioenergy research in the UK to encourage and promote collaboration between research stakeholders.

Bioenergy is the largest contributor to global renewable energy supply but needs to triple its contribution by 2050 to support sector decarbonisation and safeguard future generations.

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The Biomass Ash Chart – BY BIOFACT: ash content for 500+ biomass fuels

The Biomass Ash Chart – BY BIOFACT is a high quality synthetic plot of the amounts of the Inorganic Fraction for 500+ solid biomass fuels. The fuels are belonging to different classes (20+) such as stem woods, barks, straws and grasses, shells and husks, fruits and residues, animal and industrial wastes. Median values for fossil fuels are included for comparison. It is useful to expand your overview on the renewable fuels portfolio.

Request us a high quality PDF suitable for A1 printing, email at (for customers and company email only)

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Solid biomass: 8 business development topics for 2018

Here 8 business development topics for 2018:

  1. Rising bioenergy and biomass demand in Asia: The Asian Market. E.g.: growing demand for PKS in Japan/South Korea. How about Asia beyond 2020? What’s next after Asia?
  2. Commercialisation of advanced pellets and low-cost black pellets (can black pellets compete with white pellets on a cost basis?)
  3. Moving into the residential market: expanded residential applications with the integration of biomass heating in smart building systems
  4. Pelletizing other raw material than sawdust and chips like wood recovery or logging residues
  5. Smaller, more efficient in-woods chippers. Transport: increased shipping of wood chips
  6. Investment in torrefaction plants; investment in hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass to make renewable transport fuels and value-added chemicals.
  7. New power station conversions: from coal to biomass
  8. Secure government support

The biggest challenges in the biomass sector are, according to Argus Biomass:

  1. Government and policy support -> Working more closely with governments to gain support
  2. Low fossil fuel prices making biomass less competitive -> e.g. looking how to commercialise black pellets
  3. Lack of clarity over regulations -> Working more closely with governments
  4. High risk in investment decisions -> Carefully investing in new technologies
  5. Competition from alternative renewable sources -> Looking at ways to improve competitiveness in the industry
  6. Lack of market liquidity -> Identifying growth areas globally

Concerning the wood chip market, the 6 biggest challenges are, according to Argus Biomass:

  1. Lack of standardisation: varying quality and moisture content -> Looking for new partners to source from and working closer with biomass traders
  2. Immaturity of the market -> Investing in new technologies
  3. Cost of transportation -> Looking at options to transport in bigger vessels
  4. Lack of sustainability criteria -> Looking for solutions for sustainability assurance
  5. A fragmented market due to varying legislation -> Working closer with biomass traders
  6. Logistics and shipping -> Improving the efficiency of the supply chain


The BIOFACT Team wishes You great seasonal holidays and a happy new year!


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BIOFACT helps partner to screen coffee industry residues for combustion

We have been recently involved in the screening of solid residues from the coffee industry! Used coffee grounds are the waste product from brewing coffee. Coffee grounds may be used e.g.  for composting, biogas production or heat and power production.

Our partner wanted to screen four samples of coffee grounds from different sources for energy production units.

For the sake of simplicity, samples have been enumerated here progressively #1-4.

All samples are characterized by a high risk indicator related to NOx emissions. Interestingly, samples #1, #3, #4 exhibited a similar risk profile (or fuel “fingerprint”). However, the sample #2 evidenced different risks: clearly higher corrosion, fouling and slagging/agglomeration risks than the other three samples. This was further confirmed by pilot testing.

Coffee grounds fuel #1Coffee grounds fuel #2
Coffee grounds fuel #3
Coffee grounds fuel #4

This information was carefully considered by the partner for the fuel selection process and to further explore current issues in the running coffee grounds fuel processing installations.

BIOFACT helped to define the applicability of different fuel samples of the same fuel but with slightly different chemical compositions!

Best regards,

The Biofact project

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Case study: modern vibrating grate, fixed bed combustion to process a solid bio refinery waste

Some recently developed combustion systems are specifically designed for the use of opportunity fuels as residues from bio-refineries. A case study is here reported.

Production of ethanol from wheat grains is an energy demanding process which includes the milling and grinding to produce the wheat meal. The milling waste product consists of bran and small amounts of husks. Bran can be used for animal feed, but also for generating energy. An example of such combustion system is present in Wanze (BE). A vertical type boiler is fired primarily with bran (heating value 13.5 – 17.0 MJ/kg; ash content up to 7%w dry) and with natural gas, having a capacity of burning 20 tonnes bran/hour, for a total of 75 MWth, 25 MWel (100 ton/h steam at 92 bar, 520°C).

Detail of the boiler system by manufacturer Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S, according to their plant facts sheet, as publicly available here [1].

The bran is delivered to the boiler-dosing silo and fed into the boiler with screws. The combustion takes place on a water-cooled vibrating grate (approximately 430°C), suitable of handling biomass with high moisture content and of low calorific value. The grate consists of panel walls mounted on leaf springs. These panels are activated in pairs, in counter phase, by a vibrating unit. Primary combustion air is injected through holes drilled in the fins of the grate panel.

In order to avoid high temperature fouling, the boiler is designed with two empty boiler passes (about 520°C) to ensure sufficient cooling of the fuel gas before entering the convection part. In that way, ash will deposit in solid form. The empty boiler passes have been equipped with water sootblowers. Mineral additives are also used in the combustion chamber to minimize low temperature fouling. The bottom ash is removed with a submerged chain conveyor and carried to an open ash pit.

The steam from the boiler is expanded through a steam turbine to provide low pressure steam for the heating processes in the ethanol factory.

Do you know any example of modern combustion systems to process opportunity/residual solid biomass fuels?

[1] Plant Fact Sheet, Bran-fired steam boiler BioWanze, Wanze, Belgium, by Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S, 2010, here.


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