(396f) Feedstock Supply System Designs for Mobilizing a Billion Tons of Biomass
Biomass feedstock supply systems are typically designed and studied as vertically integrated front end systems for a single biorefinery, rather than independent feedstock supply systems designed to serve a market or several markets. This vertically integrated approach limits feedstock supply system design concepts and causes key infrastructure (e.g., ports, rail, terminals, equipment manufacturing, point of sale standards/oversight, etc.) necessary for a Billion Ton biomass economy to be over looked. An alternate approach is a “depot” feedstock supply system design. In this context, the fundamental definition of a "depot" is "A system or set of processes sized at the characteristic scale of biomass (i.e., small, modular and distributed) that transforms biomass resources into intermediates with the minimum characteristics of merchandisable, tradable, and aggregatable." To transform biomass into intermediate forms with these characteristics requires advanced and even value-add preprocessing approaches. These advanced preprocessing approaches include "modularization" of some or several conversion processes. For example, the AFEX pellet developed by MBI is moving pretreatment in-part from the biorefinery to the depot, which produces a feedstock intermediate with the above stated characteristics. The de-acytalation process developed by NREL is a modified pretreatment concept that can potentially be done as a value-add preprocessing step in a Depot. Furthermore, long before mobilizing and aggregating the full billion tons of biomass is needed, the depot concept provides for a "transitional" strategy of value-added preprocessing such as blending, formulation, torrefaction, and other possible conversion modularization approaches for the purpose of producing biomass intermediate products that serve biorefining as well as other markets. The biomass demand of multiple markets will accelerate biomass mobilization and result in an independent biomass feedstock infrastructure and associated industry.