Biomass is the simplest form of (sun) energy storage.
Besides the use of its sugars or grains in our food chain, the biomass accumulated at agri-processing locations (e.g. sugar or oil mills) is often used for energy production. Biomass is not as ideal a fuel as coal or oil, because it does not have the same energy density or calorific value as coal. In addition its properties often vary over the season and are affected by the weather. However, e.g. sugar cane bagasse is well understood and technology has been developed over the years for its efficient conversion to steam and electricity.
CHP Integration: CHP&F!
Furfural production needs steam and therefore is an ideal co-process to be combined with biomass-based power generation. Typically, such an installation has a negative CO2 footprint (of -1.3 eCO2/MWh; Ref.: Cobelec™ Investor Presentation). Furfural is made from the hemicelluloses in the biomass. Hemicelluloses have a lower calorific value than the rest of the lignocellulose. Therefore, by removing the hemicellulose as furfural, the calorific value of the remaining residue increases by 3% to 5%. Besides the fact that the profits from furfural production (per tonne of biomass/bagasse) are significantly higher than the profits made from electricity production, a furfural plant also makes use of the power stations waste heat.
CPH&F: Combined Heat, Power and Furfural plants turn sun-energy into green profit!
About Biomass & Furfural
For owners of biomass we offer technology and market access, creating investment opportunities in the cleantech space. Contact us to discuss the potential your biomass has for the production of furfural.
This article is part of a series on “biomass for furfural” production, which provides our clients with updates and analysis on the fundamentals and competitiveness of a variety of feedstock and their conversion to chemicals and energy (incl. biofuels).