Thermochemical conversion can alter lignocellulosic biomass to fuel, chemicals and renewable power. However, pyrolysis and gasification of raw biomass feedstock have technical barriers that must be eliminated before successful commercialization. Feedstock handling is complex due to the varying natures of commercial timber, agricultural residues (rice hulls, corn stover, wheat chaff), and energy crops (switch grass), among others. Two distinct thermal pretreatment technologies are investigated in this project: wet torrefaction and dry torrefaction.
In this project, at the University of Nevada-Reno, we have come up with an alternative wastewater processing system named Sludge to Power (S2P) that produces electricity onsite from dried wastewater biosolids, while eliminating a waste stream of millions of tons per year per plant. The EPA estimate that 60,000 dry metric tons of sludge are produced annually in Nevada alone, which could turn this into 11 megawatts of power.