Case Study: Preconditioning of Feedstock for Waste-to-Energy

Converting Biomass to Biofuel

For decades, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington, have been experimenting with technologies that convert organic matter into biofuel. One such technology is hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL). At a basic level, HTL involves the injection of a biomass slurry into a reactor where it is heated under high pressure, similar to pressure cooking. The process is environmentally friendly, and the energy efficiency is very high.

Unlike technologies that require dry feedstock to convert biomass to biofuel (which can be prohibitively expensive), HTL can utilize a large variety of feedstock, including those with high moisture content such as organic residues and sludges. One of the key steps in the HTL process is grinding/shredding the biomass to the necessary particle size for injection into a reactor. This is where grinders from JWC Monster Industrial play a critical role.

Customized Preconditioning Solution

In 2019, PNNL ran into issues with their attrition mill that was having difficulty grinding/shredding a mixture of straw and manure. Looking for a solution, they turned to JWC. JWC performed numerous grind tests on a variety of tough materials in their grind test facility that was built to identify optimal configurations for each customer. After successfully grinding dry and wet or soaked hay, sticks, twigs, tumbleweeds, manure with straw, switchgrass, alfalfa, and animal fur, among others, they chose a 3-SHRED-2 unit with a 10 hp motor and an 18-inch split cutter stack that allows for coarse and fine grinding…

Curious to see their solution? Read the full story here.