Pallmann, Standard Bio develop new biorefinery concept

By Pallmann Group | May 22, 2015

Pallmann Group, one of the world's largest manufacturers of innovative size reduction technology, is joining forces with Standard Bio, an expert in novel biomass conversion technologies, to develop a new biorefinery concept that will use low-value organic waste as a resource for clean energy, natural fertilizers and animal protein.

The concept is based around the conversion of renewable resources—in the first case trees from cultivated forests, although it can also be applied to other types of biomass—into solid briquettes for energy generation, as well as natural oil. At its heart is a patented high-pressure wood press and drying machine developed by Pallmann and Standard Bio, capable of producing 500 cubic meters of compressed wood per day, along with 50 160-liter barrels of natural oil. Pallmann will develop and build various key pieces of equipment to reduce the dried wood to particulate sizes that can then be converted into the briquettes.

Briquettes will be produced either by mixing dried wood chips with a small amount of tree oil and then compacting it to form bio-briquettes (also known as HerbBalls) of by pyrolysing the sawdust and then forming charcoal briquettes. Some of the output can also be combined with other natural resources rich in nitrogen to produce fertilizer and animal feed.

The two companies recently signed a technical and sales cooperation agreement, under which they first plan to set up a demonstration plant in an area of forest in Norway that will use wood surplus to the requirement of timber processing operations in the region who produce materials for the building and construction industry. This plant should be operational later this year. Medium-term goal is to provide technology and equipment packages for customers around the world.

Standard Bio already operates a pilot press that can squeeze water and natural oils out of wood in before they are reduced to chips. This eliminates the need to expend energy on drying wet chips, and also provides a valuable resource in the form of tree oil that can be used as a feedstock in various other processes.

 “We are developing technology for converting environmental waste and misplaced resources into commodities with high added value that can be sold around the world,” says Ove Lerdahl, CEO at Standard Bio. “The technology represents a highly cost-effective and sustainable means of producing clean energy from renewable resources that has no need for government subsidies to be successful.”

Standard Bio is a small company set up in 2014 as a spin-off from AgroPlas AS in Oslo, Norway. Using proprietary technology, Agroplas delivers innovative solutions that improve the efficiency of existing production processes and create new value streams from waste. Standard Bio’s aim is to make biomass a competitive raw material for bioreļ¬ning into proteins, chemicals, materials, fuels and energy.

“We are now small-scale, but growing fast,” Lerdahl says. “There is a large global market with solid growth potential tied to wood-based biomass. We have a particularly innovate biomass drying and pretreatment technology that Pallmann is helping us bring to a commercial reality. We have world class robust machine construction, delivery and servicing logistics.”

“The demonstration plant soon to be established in a forest around 100 km south-west of Oslo in Norway will be used to prove the Bio Standard process for creating a new renewable carbon feedstock for coal-fired utilities, for organic soil improvement (Vermicompost)—and for the production of protein. We are also building a distillation unit for cold extraction of tree oil as a complementary process.”

Vermicompost is a highly valuable completely natural commodity that has several advantages over traditional fertilizer, particularly in arid areas or in localities where soil erosion and soil pollution are problems. It is the result of worms creating a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and worm casts.