Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. and the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) that will improve the processes used to convert second-generation, non-food-based, biofuel feedstocks, including perennial grasses, animal wastes and agricultural residues such as corn stover, into liquid bio-fuel intermediates, such as bio-oil.
As part of the CRADA, Logical Innovations of Richmond, Va., will work with researchers at USDA/ARS’s Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pa., to improve on pyrolysis oil production via innovative control technologies. They will install a distributed control system (DCS) based on Siemens SIMATIC PCS 7 Box technology on ERRC’s bench scale, fluidized bed pyrolysis system that heats the biomass in a reactor and converts it to liquid bio-oil, bio-char, and synthetic gas. The project will be commissioned in late 2008.
“We think distributed control will help accelerate second generation biofuels and biochemicals development by improving the repeatability, consistency and efficiency of our research processes,” said USDA/ARS Research Leader Dr. Kevin Hicks.
According to Dave Hankins, vice president of Siemens Chemical and Pharmaceutical Center of Competence, the PCS 7 Box technology provides a new level of flexibility to biofuels producers, as well as improves worker safety and equipment protection.