The following is an excerpt from an article by Katie Fletcher of BIOMASS MAGAZINE. You may find the full article here.
American Science and Technology Corp. is scaling up its Wausau, Wisconsin-based pilot plant to pre-commercialization scale. Baisch Engineering was selected to design the scale up of the biorefinery pilot plant from its current production capacity of 200 pounds of lignocellulosic biomass per day to 2 tons per day.
“Baisch Engineering is a well-established company with considerable experience in design and building biorefineries, mostly for paper industries,” said Ali Manesh, AST president and CEO. “Baisch Engineering has an experienced team of engineers who will provide the technical expertise that we need to select the right equipment and materials for our current scale-up project.”
AST uses its biorefinery pilot plant facilities to develop a patented Organosolv process to convert lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable C6 sugars, highly refined eatable sugar, pure lignin, high quality pulp and organic solvents. These have been intermediate products for supply chains producing biochemicals, plastics, biofuels and nutritional supplements for food.
During the past five years AST has refined the Organosolv pulping process and provided research and development services to companies. The increasing maturity of the Organosolv technology and the nature of the research and development demand, from proof of concept to economic viability analysis, has required the development of a pre-commercialization plant, according to Manesh.
The Organosolv process licensed and used by AST was originally developed and patented by two scientists at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, where the Cellulose Pilot and Processing Laboratory resides. AST’s pilot plant is an essential part of the CPPL, which includes facilities for biomass characterization and analysis, a biotechnology lab and a fermentation scale-up facility aimed at creating next generation biorefinery technologies. “Over the years, by using its laboratory and pilot plant, AST has gained invaluable knowledge and improved the process further, resulting in several patent pending applications of its own,” Manesh said.
Manesh adds that a spinoff company entitled Refined Bioproducts LLC was created by members of the research group to explore the marketing and value chain of the products from these patented processes. RBP is currently negotiating with AST to market their fractionation products.