Welcome to the Biomass conversion technologies database which you can access underneath! 

Through the underneath table users can access the database on lignocellulosic biomass conversion technologies characteristics (click on the number in last column). The data included in this database are feeding the Bio2Match, the BeWhere and the LocaGIStics tools all accessible via the main menu in this toolset under 'Tools'. accessible under the ‘Tool'  tab in the main menu above. In the process of creating the database it was ensured to take up the technologies relevant for producing the products described in the product market combinations in WP7 and that were the basis for assessing 2020 and 2030 biomass demand and consumption levels (see Tab 'General data' ---> 'Biomass demand'. For heat, power and fuels, several technologies are available in the database, while for other bio-based products (especially through the sugar platform) some but fewer conversion technologies are included. This is a representation of the technology readiness levels and the current and expected market situation for these products.

In the underneath table an overview is provided of all technologies included in the conversion technologies database. To access the detailed technology characterisation sheets in de database click on the technology number in the last column of the table.  To return to the overview table again click on the return arrow

The technologies covered can be classified in 6 main categories: treatment in subcritical water, syngas platform, gasification technologies, fast pyrolysis, direct combustion of solid biomass, chemical pretreatment, biochemical hydrolisis and fermentation and anearobic digestion. For a further description of the biomass conversion technologies database please consult D2.3The method developed in S2BIOM for minimal biomass quality requirement for each biomass conversion technology is described in D2.1 and  D2.2.

Conversion technologies Conversion technologies


View details of Ethanol from lignocellulose (dilute acid pretreatment), value chain example

Name Ethanol from lignocellulose (dilute acid pretreatment), value chain example
Main category Biochemical ethanol and biobased products
Subcategory Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation
Image url
Year of first implementation 2015
Estimated number of systems in operation 10
Main operating principle:
This entry describes an example of a complete corn stover to ethanol plant. Different companies use different technologies, especially for the biomass pretreatment. The type described here uses 'dilute acid pretreatment', which is similar to the plants that are operated by POET-DSM, Raizen, and Abengoa. Data are based on a report by NREL. The plant contains 9 sections: feed handling, dilute acid pretreatment, enzyme production, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation, product work up (distillation), waste water treatment, product and chemicals storage, a biomass boiler, and utilities. Annual biomass intake is 700 kton dry matter, thereby producing 182 kton ethanol per year. The plant is self-sufficient in terms of energy and produces 13.7 MW additional electricity, which is sold to the grid.

Level of commercial application Worldwide there are about 10 commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants in operation (USA 5, Brazil 3, Europe 1, China 1). Most are currently (early 2016) in the start-up phase.
Important pilots and EU projects Biochemtex / Beta Renewables operates the most important commercial demo in Europe, in Crescentino, using a slightly different pretreatment technology
Expected Developments No plants operate at full capacity yet. This can be expected for the near future. Many more plants are planned or under construction.
Current Technology Readiness Level Level 8, System integrated in commercial design
Expected Technology Readiness Level in 2030 Level 9, System ready for full scale deployment
Justify expected Level in 2030
D. Humbird, R. Davis, L. Tao, C. Kinchin, D. Hsu, and A. Aden, P. Schoen, J. Lukas, B. Olthof, M. Worley, D. Sexton, and D. Dudgeon, Process Design and Economics for Biochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol: Dilute-Acid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Corn Stover, Technical Report NREL/TP-5100-47764, May 2011

Capacity of outputs (typical values)
Power                      (MWe) 13.7
Conversion efficiencies: net returns electricity(GJ/GJ biomass input) typical: 0.028 min: max:   typical in 2020: typical in 2030:  

Ethanol                      (m3/hour) 27.5     LHV  (GJ / m3) 21.1
Conversion efficiencies: net returns biofuels and biobased products(GJ/GJ biomass input) typical: 0.33 min: max:   typical in 2020: typical in 2030:  

Data sources used to define conversion efficiencies in 2014:
NREL report

External inputs (not generated by the biomass in the conversion process)
Sulphuric acid     (kg/hour): 1981
Sodium hydroxide     (kg/hour): 2252
Enzymes     (kg/hour): 490
Water     (m3/hour): 147
Ammonia     (kg/hr): 1051

Indication: experience based data No

Number of possible full load hours per year (hours) 8410
Number of typical full load hours per year (hours) 8000
Typical Lifetime of Equipment (years) 30
Data sources used to define conversion efficiencies in 2020:

Data sources used to define conversion efficiencies in 2030:

General data sources for technical properties:

Biomass input, common for the technology used:    Cereals straw, Straw/stubbles;  Maize stover, Straw/stubbles;     
Biomass input, technically possible but not common:    Miscanthus (Perennial grass), Energy grasses, annual & perennial crops;  Switchgrass (Perennial grass), Energy grasses, annual & perennial crops;  Stemwood from thinnings originating from nonconifer trees, Stemwood from final fellings & thinnings;   
Traded form Chopped straw or energy grass
Dimensions length (mm) 20

Moisture content (% wet basis) typical 20 max 25
Minimal bulk density (kg/m3, wet basis) 100
Maximum ash content (% dry basis) 7
Minimal ash melting point (= initial deformation temperature) (°C)
Volatile matter (only for thermally trated material, torrefied or steam explosed) (VM%)

Maximum allowable contents
Nitrogen, N (wt%, dry) Sulphur, S (wt%, dry) Chlorine, Cl (wt%, dry)
Optional attributes
Net caloric value (MJ/kg) min max
Gross caloric value (MJ/kg) min max
Biogas yield (m3 gas/ton dry biomass) % methane
Cellulose content (g/kg dry matter) min 300 max
Hemicellulose content (g/kg dry matter) min 200 max
Lignin content (g/kg dry matter) min max 250
Crude fibre content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Starch content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Sugar content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Fat content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Protein content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Acetyl group content (g/kg dry matter) min max

Investments costs in 2014 (€): 360000000 expected in 2020 (€): expected in 2030 (€):
Labour needed Operators (FTE): 55 Staff and engineering (FTE): 5

Edited by: Tijs Lammens