Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Search results for: depolymerisation

5 Device for Thermo-Magnetic Depolymerisation of Plant Biomass Prior to Methane Fermentation

Authors: Mirosław Krzemieniewski, Marcin Zieliński, Marcin Dębowski


This publication presents a device for depolymerisation of plant substrates applicable to agricultural biogas plants and closed-chamber sewage treatment plants where sludge fermentation is bolstered with plant mass. The device consists of a tank with a cover equipped with a heating system, an inlet for the substrate, and an outlet for the depolymerised substrate. Within the tank, a magnet shaft encased in a spiral casing is attached, equipped on its upper end with an internal magnetic disc. A motoreducer is mounted on an external magnetic disc located on the centre of the cover. Depolymerisation of the plant substrate allows for substrate destruction at much lower power levels than by conventional means. The temperature within the reactor can be lowered by 40% in comparison to existing designs. During the depolymerisation process, free radicals are generated within the magnetic field, oxidizing the conditioned substrate and promoting biodegradation. Thus, the fermentation time in the fermenters is reduced by approximately 20%.

Keywords: depolymerisation, pre-treatment, biomass, fermentation

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4 Catalytic Depolymerisation of Waste Plastic Material into Hydrocarbon Liquid

Authors: Y. C. Bhattacharyulu, Amit J. Agrawal, Vikram S. Chatake, Ketan S. Desai


In recent years, the improper disposal of waste polymeric materials like plastics, rubber, liquid containers, daily household materials, etc. is posing a grave problem by polluting the environment. On the other hand fluctuations in the oil market and limited stocks of fossil fuels have diverted the interest of researchers to study the production of fuels and hydrocarbons from alternative sources. Hence, to study the production of fuels from waste plastic is the need of hour at present. Effect of alkali solutions of different concentrations with copper comprising catalyst on depolymerisation reactions was studied here. The present study may become a preliminary method for obtaining valuable hydrocarbons from waste plastics and an effective way for depolymerising or degrading waste plastics for their safe disposal without causing any environmental problems.

Keywords: catalyst, depolymerisation, disposal, hydrocarbon liquids, waste plastic

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3 Device for Thermal Depolymerisation of Organic Substrates Prior to Methane Fermentation

Authors: Marcin Dębowski, Mirosław Krzemieniewski, Marcin Zieliński


This publication presents a device designed to depolymerise and structurally change organic substrate, for use in agricultural biogas plants or sewage treatment plants. The presented device consists of a heated tank equipped with an inlet valve for the crude substrate and an outlet valve for the treated substrate. The system also includes a gas conduit, which is at its tip equipped with a high-pressure solenoid valve and a vacuum relief solenoid valve. A conduit behind the high-pressure solenoid valve connects to the vacuum tank equipped with the outlet valve. The substrate introduced into the device is exposed to agents such as high temperature and cavitation produced by abrupt, short-term reduction of pressure within the heated tank. The combined effect of these processes is substrate destruction rate increase of about 20% when compared to using high temperature alone, and about 30% when compared to utilizing only cavitation. Energy consumption is greatly reduced, as the pressure increase is generated by heating the substrate. Thus, there is a 18% reduction of energy consumption when compared to a device designed to destroy substrate through high temperature alone, and a 35% reduction if compared to using cavitation as the only means of destruction.

Keywords: thermal depolymerisation, organic substrate, biogas, pre-treatment

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2 Glycosaminoglycan, a Cartilage Erosion Marker in Synovial Fluid of Osteoarthritis Patients Strongly Correlates with WOMAC Function Subscale

Authors: Priya Kulkarni, Soumya Koppikar, Narendrakumar Wagh, Dhanshri Ingle, Onkar Lande, Abhay Harsulkar


Cartilage is an extracellular matrix composed of aggrecan, which imparts it with a great tensile strength, stiffness and resilience. Disruption in cartilage metabolism leading to progressive degeneration is a characteristic feature of Osteoarthritis (OA). The process involves enzymatic depolymerisation of cartilage specific proteoglycan, releasing free glycosaminoglycan (GAG). This released GAG in synovial fluid (SF) of knee joint serves as a direct measure of cartilage loss, however, limited due to its invasive nature. Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) is widely used for assessing pain, stiffness and physical-functions in OA patients. The scale is comprised of three subscales namely, pain, stiffness and physical-function, intends to measure patient’s perspective of disease severity as well as efficacy of prescribed treatment. Twenty SF samples obtained from OA patients were analysed for their GAG values in SF using DMMB based assay. LK 1.0 vernacular version was used to attain WOMAC scale. The results were evaluated using SAS University software (Edition 1.0) for statistical significance. All OA patients revealed higher GAG values compared to the control value of 78.4±30.1µg/ml (obtained from our non-OA patients). Average WOMAC calculated was 51.3 while pain, stiffness and function estimated were 9.7, 3.9 and 37.7, respectively. Interestingly, a strong statistical correlation was established between WOMAC function subscale and GAG (p = 0.0102). This subscale is based on day-to-day activities like stair-use, bending, walking, getting in/out of car, rising from bed. However, pain and stiffness subscale did not show correlation with any of the studied markers and endorsed the atypical inflammation in OA pathology. On one side, where knee pain showed poor correlation with GAG, it is often noted that radiography is insensitive to cartilage degenerative changes; thus OA remains undiagnosed for long. Moreover, active cartilage degradation phase remains elusive to both, patient and clinician. Through analysis of large number of OA patients we have established a close association of Kellgren-Lawrence grades and increased cartilage loss. A direct attempt to correlate WOMAC and radiographic progression of OA with various biomarkers has not been attempted so far. We found a good correlation in GAG levels in SF and the function subscale.

Keywords: cartilage, Glycosaminoglycan, synovial fluid, western ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index

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1 Lignin Valorization: Techno-Economic Analysis of Three Lignin Conversion Routes

Authors: Iris Vural Gursel, Andrea Ramirez


Effective utilization of lignin is an important mean for developing economically profitable biorefineries. Current literature suggests that large amounts of lignin will become available in second generation biorefineries. New conversion technologies will, therefore, be needed to carry lignin transformation well beyond combustion to produce energy, but towards high-value products such as chemicals and transportation fuels. In recent years, significant progress on catalysis has been made to improve transformation of lignin, and new catalytic processes are emerging. In this work, a techno-economic assessment of two of these novel conversion routes and comparison with more established lignin pyrolysis route were made. The aim is to provide insights into the potential performance and potential hotspots in order to guide the experimental research and ease the commercialization by early identifying cost drivers, strengths, and challenges. The lignin conversion routes selected for detailed assessment were: (non-catalytic) lignin pyrolysis as the benchmark, direct hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of lignin and hydrothermal lignin depolymerisation. Products generated were mixed oxygenated aromatic monomers (MOAMON), light organics, heavy organics, and char. For the technical assessment, a basis design followed by process modelling in Aspen was done using experimental yields. A design capacity of 200 kt/year lignin feed was chosen that is equivalent to a 1 Mt/y scale lignocellulosic biorefinery. The downstream equipment was modelled to achieve the separation of the product streams defined. For determining external utility requirement, heat integration was considered and when possible gasses were combusted to cover heating demand. The models made were used in generating necessary data on material and energy flows. Next, an economic assessment was carried out by estimating operating and capital costs. Return on investment (ROI) and payback period (PBP) were used as indicators. The results of the process modelling indicate that series of separation steps are required. The downstream processing was found especially demanding in the hydrothermal upgrading process due to the presence of significant amount of unconverted lignin (34%) and water. Also, external utility requirements were found to be high. Due to the complex separations, hydrothermal upgrading process showed the highest capital cost (50 M€ more than benchmark). Whereas operating costs were found the highest for the direct HDO process (20 M€/year more than benchmark) due to the use of hydrogen. Because of high yields to valuable heavy organics (32%) and MOAMON (24%), direct HDO process showed the highest ROI (12%) and the shortest PBP (5 years). This process is found feasible with a positive net present value. However, it is very sensitive to the prices used in the calculation. The assessments at this stage are associated with large uncertainties. Nevertheless, they are useful for comparing alternatives and identifying whether a certain process should be given further consideration. Among the three processes investigated here, the direct HDO process was seen to be the most promising.

Keywords: biorefinery, economic assessment, lignin conversion, process design

Procedia PDF Downloads 148