Pilot Plant for Process Development

The Pilot Plant is used to develop, in an environment of industrial relevance, technologies related to the application of bio-renewables and processes related to the circular economy. At the Pilot Plant, it is possible to develop experimental apparatus in order to reproduce relevant industrial conditions, thus bringing industrial strength to the technology to be developed. The facility is equipped to validate techno-economic and process sustainability indicators, so it is possible to minimize the risks of scaling up, predict bottlenecks, and optimize investment processes and estimates (capital and operational). The installation is completely modular and instrumented, and the units are controlled using automation software and architecture similar to those applied in industrial units.

It is a unique structure nationally by the flexibility in its design and capacity of its equipment. Its versatility in interconnecting equipment makes it compatible with a wide range of processes.

The Plant is composed of three large platforms: Biomass Processing, Physical-Chemical Processes, and Bioprocesses.

  • Biomass Conditioning Platform: receiving, handling, preparation, and storage of the raw material for subsequent physical-chemical treatment. In this facility, it is possible to perform bench-scale material processing. Highlight for dry cleaning system and grinding/biomass fractionation system.
  • Physical-Chemical Process Platform: it has multifunctional equipment in which studies and evaluations of different types and conditions of processes can be carried out, applied to biomass, based on the use of solvents, acids, or alkalis to catalyze the reactions of the developed processes. This platform also has the necessary infrastructure to evaluate the processes of separation, detoxification, and concentration of the downstream currents of the processes. In this facility, it is possible to perform bench-scale material processing. Highlight for reactors capable of operating at high pressure and temperature and great chemical compatibility.
  • Bioprocess Platform: it has the equipment to conduct fermentation processes, enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis, separation, and purification of cells and/or bioproducts. Highlight to the setup of bioreactors that make possible the application of aerobic/anaerobic processes and different control/feeding strategies.

Main skills and experimental techniques:

  • Development of physical, chemical, and biological processes;
  • Scaling of bioprocesses (TRL3 – TRL6) for different microbial platforms (fungi, yeasts, and bacteria).
  • Development of steps for the separation (downstream) of bioprocesses;
  • Development of an experimental apparatus to understand issues of industrial relevance related to biotechnology.

Start of operation: in 2013 and 2013 for external users.

Mandatory citation to be used in user publications

This research used facilities of the Brazilian Biorenewables National Laboratory (LNBR), part of the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), a private non-profit organization under the supervision of the Brazilian Ministry for Science, Technology, and Innovations (MCTI). The (FACILITY NAME) staff is acknowledged for the assistance during the experiments (proposal numbers).