Technology

The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT has developed the innovative thermo-catalytic reforming process forbiomass. The TCR® technology is designed to process a wide range of waste or residual biomass including:

  • Fermentation residues incl. digestate from anaerobic digestion plants and lignin cake from bioethanol fermentation plants
  • Agricultural/forestry residues (eg. animal manure, straws and husks, waste wood and road side clippings)
  • Industrial biomass residues (eg. brewer’s spent grain, oil mill residue, paper sludges)
  • Municipal organic wastes such as sewage sludge from water treatment plants or composting materials

Through a staged process, TCR converts biomass into high quality syngas, biooil, biochar and water.

Process Overview - Thermo-Catalytic Reforming

  1. Thermal Drying:Wet biomass is dried to between 70-90% dry matter content through a combinationof standard mechanical and thermal drying technology. The TCR technology itselfcan supply sufficient heat for thermal drying of biomass with 60-70% watercontent.

  2. Thermal Decomposition:In a first TCR reactor stage biomass is carbonized to biochar at intermediatetemperatures (400-500°C) and volatile organic compounds are extracted.

  3. Catalytic Reforming:In the second TCR reactor stage the biochar is heated up to 600-750 °C andbrought in contact with the volatile compounds again. Through catalyticfunctions the organic compounds are cracked to quality fuel gases and oils. Thesteam reforming of water and carbon increases the yields of a hydrogen richsyngas.

  4. Product Treatment:Liquid compounds are condensed and the product syngas is cleaned for particlesand aerosols in a relatively simple product treatment stage.

The TCR technologyproduces its own process energy through biochar combustion and on-site combined heat and power generation.