Steam explosion pilot plant goes into operation

12. July 2022

Steam explosion pilot plant

In the course of the "STEAMEX" research project (49VF200002) funded by the BMWi, an automated steam explosion plant was developed for the digestion of lignocellulosic raw materials. In combination with a closed collection tank, all material flows can be balanced and analysed.

Based on considerations to re-adapt the original steam-explosion process in a target-controlled manner to end products, the advantage of the plant that has been put into operation lies in a wide range of applications. In addition to the possibility of defibrating the material to be digested or using it as a material, the focus of the investigations is on the defined production of chemical raw materials (including degradation products of the basic substances lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose) with a digestion pressure of up to 32 bar. After a discontinuous digestion of a previously defined raw material in a 10 l steam-gun, it is completely depressurised and collected in a closed tank (1.7 m³). The blow-out time, pressure and temperature of the plant components are recorded by the process control system with high temporal triggering. The subsequent analysis is to provide balances for solid, liquid and gaseous components. This results in the possibility of reproducible, product-specific process control. By evacuating selected parts of the plant beforehand, the process limits can be extended and new findings in the field of steam explosion technology can be developed.