(414a) Transforming Biomass and Waste into Conversion-Ready Feedstocks for a Circular Carbon Economy | AIChE

(414a) Transforming Biomass and Waste into Conversion-Ready Feedstocks for a Circular Carbon Economy


Wendt, L. - Presenter, Idaho National Laboratory
The Biomass Feedstock National User Facility (BFNUF) at Idaho National Laboratory was established nearly a decade ago to support the feedstock supply, logistics, and preprocessing R&D necessary for the bioenergy industry to thrive. To that end, producing conversion-ready feedstocks from diverse waste streams is increasingly important as the United States seeks to integrate municipal solid waste (MSW) upcycling into a more material efficient and resilient circular economy. Lessons learned from industry suggest that material handling challenges of feeding and flowability of solid feedstocks and managing the inherent variability of biomass and waste resource quality cause a crippling effort downstream if not managed upstream in preprocessing. Recent upgrades in the BFNUF, guided by stakeholders in government, industry, and academia, address these challenges with reconfigurable unit operations and advanced physical and chemical characterization to create tailored preprocessing systems that support industry scale up. Upgrades enable fractional milling and targeted separations, waste separation and characterization with online sensors and AI-powered systems, and mechanical, thermal, and chemical decontamination schemes to improve fuel production. By coupling science-based approaches with analytical tools and unique equipment, researchers and industry collaborators can lean on the BFNUF to understand feedstock materials properties impacting preprocessing, handling, and conversion. The BFNUF provides value to a dynamic bioenergy and bio-product sector by enabling the research and development needed to accelerate the realization of the circular economy, wherein reuse, recycle, and remanufacture of fundamental carbon-based materials create value to a sustainable and resilient U.S. energy economy.