Day 2 :
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
Time : 10:00-10:35
Arthur Ragauskas held the first Fulbright Chair in Alternative Energy and is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Academy of Wood Science and The Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI). In 2014, he assumed a Governor’s Chair for Biorefining based in University of Tennessee’s (UT) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, with a complementary appointment in the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries and serves in the US Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate, Biosciences Division, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His research program is directed at understanding and exploiting innovative sustainable bioresources. This multifaceted program is targeted to develop new and improved applications for nature’s premiere renewable biopolymers for biofuels, biopower, and bio-based materials and chemicals. He is the Recipient of the 2014 TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award, ACS Affordable Green Chemistry Award and 2017 Green Process Engineering American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
The recalcitrance of biomass is one of the greatest difficulties in the overall conversion of biomass to biofuels. To-date this requires costly pretreatment technologies that frequently lead to the generation of fermentation inhibitors and waste streams that need be treated in an environmental acceptable manner, incurring additional costs. The minimization of native biomass recalcitrance is clearly related to tailoring the structure of the starting bioresource (1) over the past decade, we have examined what plant cell parameters are involved in plant recalcitrance and have clearly determined that this is a multi-structural feature involving cellulose ultrastructure/degree of polymerization (DP), hemicellulose content and structure, lignin structure and content, lignin-carbohydrate complexes and plant cell wall accessibility. But it is also clear not all these parameters are of equal importance (2). examining the structural fidelity of ‘wild’ popular resources, we were able to demonstrate that the structure of lignin plays a key component in the overall recalcitrance of this feedstock, of special significance was the nature of inter-unit lignin bonding structures along with the structure of hemicelluloses. Both of these components undergo significant changes when undergoing acidic pretreatments which provide a biomass with increased accessibility and reactivity to cellulose. This presentation will examine the plant cell features and the advances in analytical chemistry needed to examine these features. These advances in the understanding of biomass recalcitrance have now facilitated key advances in accelerated engineering of low-recalcitrance plants that have now been developed in green house and controlled farm sites. In both case, the design of plants with low-reactance cell wall features has been demonstrated which in turn results in higher biofuel yields from a cellulose den construction/fermentation approach. Recommendations are made for next generation of plants will lower costs and improve the overall conversion of biomass to biofuels.
University of Minnesota, USA
Keynote: Intermittent vacuum assisted thermophilic AD and biorefining technologies for liquid and solid waste utilization and treatment
Time : 10:35-11:10
Roger Ruan is the Director of Center for Biorefining and Professor of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota, USA and Fellow of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He has published over 400 papers in refereed journals, books, and book chapters, and over 300 meeting papers and other reports, and holds 18 US patents. He is also a top cited author in the area of agricultural and biological sciences. He has supervised over 65 graduate students, 110 Postdoctors, Research Fellows, and other Engineers and Scientists, and 12 of his PhD students and 8 other Postdoctors hold university faculty positions. He has received over 160 projects totaling over $40 million in various funding for research, including major funding from USDA, DOE, DOT, DOD, and industries. He has served as Guest Editor and/or Editorial Board Member of Bioresource Technology, etc. and Editor-in-Chief and Chairman of the board for International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
Organic solid and liquid wastes, such as animal manure and food wastes, contain large amounts of energy, nutrients, and water, and should not be perceived as merely waste. Treatment and disposal have been the primary management strategy for wastewater; while recycling, composting, and combustion of non-recyclables have been practiced for decades to capture the energy and values from municipal solid wastes. As new technologies are emerging, alternative options for utilization of both wastewater and solid wastes have become available. Considering the complexity of chemical, physical, and biological properties of these wastes, multiple technologies may be required to maximize the energy and value recovery from the wastes. For this purpose, biorefining tends to be an appropriate approach to completely utilize and therefore treat them. Research has demonstrated that the liquid waste streams have the potential to support crop and algae growth and provide other energy recovery and food production options, while the non-recyclable waste materials and bio-solids can be converted into useable heat, electricity, or fuel and chemical through a variety of processes. In this presentation, new biorefining schemes especially for organic solid and liquid wastes from municipal sources, food and biological processing plants, and animal production facilities have been proposed. Four new breakthrough technologies, namely intermittent vacuum-assisted thermophilic anaerobic digestion (AD), extended aquaponics, oily wastes to biodiesel via glycerolysis, and microwave assisted thermochemical conversion, can be incorporated into the biorefining schemes, enabling complete utilization and therefore treatment of those wastes for the production of chemicals, fertilizer, energy (biogas, syngas, biodiesel, and bio-oil), foods, and feeds, resulting in clean water and a significant reduction in pollutant emissions.
Networking and Refreshments Break 11:10-1140
Intenational Biogas and Bioenergy Center of Competence IBBK, Germany
Time : 11:40-12:15
Michael Köttner with a Master’s Degree as an Agricultural Biologist and as a Trained Farmer is professionally involved in biogas and bioenergy technology for more than 25 years. His portfolio ranges from professional services as a Scientist and Farmer in USA and South Africa, adult education, to being a founding Member and CEO (1992 – 2000) in Europe’s biggest biogas association, the German Biogas Association with almost 5000 members today. Since 2000 he is a Consultant, Senior Expert, as well as Managing Director of the International Biogas and Bioenergy Center of Competence (IBBK Fachgruppe Biogas GmbH) and Vice-President of the German Biogas and Bioenergy Society, GERBIO/FnBB e.V. His work focuses on consulting and training in the field of industrial and small scale decentralized biogas technology with manure, plant oil for energy production, wood gas (gasification, pyrolysis) and ecological sanitation in a regional, national and international context.
In Europe, anaerobic digestion (AD) is dedicated to the treatment of organic wastes, eventually in combination with energetic crops. For implementing these systems, favorable promotional measures have been proposed, creating high number of active anaerobic digesters. However, in order to consolidate its role as a favorable tool for sustainable waste management, it is important to decrease the usage of energy crops and substitute it, if possible, with biomass residues. Originating from small-scale farm based anaerobic digestion plants, the landscape of AD in Germany and Europe has changed significantly over the past 20 years. Regarding Germany, this is due to the implementation of generous feed-in tariffs and unlimited priority feed-in for renewable energies. This was regulated in the renewable energy laws of 2004 and 2009. Additionally, starting in the early 2000s, a specific subsidy for energy crop farming was introduced by the EU as an agro-political tool to avoid food overproduction and yet compensate the farmers to keep working their land. Energy crops include maize, corn, whole crop cereal, sugar beets and grass. This resulted in a massive boom in the total numbers of AD plants and the average installed capacity. Especially during the 8 years from 2004 to 2012, more than 6500 new AD plants digesting energy crops were commissioned in Germany alone. Why were energy crops so attractive as a feedstock for AD installations? Well, they have a higher specific gas yield compared to slurry, the necessary agricultural technology is well established and similar to dairy farming and it offers farmers the opportunity to become independent from agricultural price cycles. Major changes in subsidy policies in the German renewable energy law in 2014 and a complete redesign in 2017 threw all cards in the air again. Since 2017, new and existing
AD plants have to compete with all other biomass plants via tender processes. As a direct consequence, expensive feedstocks such as classic energy crops instantly became much less economically viable. Thus, operators are now looking into alternative feedstocks. Increased investment costs for AD plants also factors into economic calculations. The rise took place in recent years due to an elevation in professionalism in the agricultural sector. Additionally, higher safety standards and technical requirements for AD plant equipment contributed to this development. This is where manure and grass can come in. Good quality grass silage offers an impressive specific biogas yield of around 150 m³/t compared to the 200 m³/t of the corn silage, making it a viable and abundant alternative feedstock.