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PELLETON – a device for production of pellets from biomass and agricultural waste for energy purposes

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PELLETON (PELLETON – a device for production of pellets from biomass and agricultural waste for energy purposes)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-05-31

The subject matter of the project is the implementation of the invention called PELLETON – a device for production of pellets from biomass and agricultural waste for energy purposes. The goal of the commercialization process is to introduce the invention to the European market within two years.

The objective of ZUK Stąporków innovative technology is to contribute to solving one of the European’s main environmental problems i.e. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil-fuel combustion. We intend to reduce energy needed to produce biomass-based fuels and drive wider production of biofuels from agricultural waste, what will be an important step towards achieving the EU goals for low-carbon economy.
It will be possible thanks to our innovation, that is an energy-efficient, mobile pellet production line called PELLETON, which is characterized by three main features:
• innovative energy-saving granulation and mixing modules, which allow to omit processes of drying and accurate grinding of biomass, thereby reducing energy usage by 38%,
• ability to process hardly manageable bio-sewer sludges, which gives an opportunity to manufacture biofuel from another renewable resource,
• mobile structure allowing to contain the whole production line on two trailers and move to the biomass source, which reduces the transportation cost and resulting CO2 emission, giving an opportunity to gather biomass from previously unreachable sources.

Our innovations derive from clients’ expectations. PELLETON is intended mainly for European biofuels producers (at the first stage of commercialization) with potential for individual households as well as heating and power plants (second stage of commercialization). Final goal for the Company is to launch innovative pallets production device on the wide EU market.

Implementation of the technology will greatly reduce problems associated with CO2 emission. The basis of our value proposition is the fact that use of biomass containing agricultural residues and waste in power and heating generation would reduce the CO2 emission by 95% per MWh (29 kg comparing to 713 kg CO2e/MWh from fossil fuels) . Thanks to our technology, market price of agricultural pellet is to be reduced up to 60%, leading to increase in demand for pellet fuels.

Current state of the art doesn’t provide solutions that could be fully-competitive to PELLETON. There are no comprehensive systems which combine all of PELLETON’s features (energy-efficiency, mobility and high-liquid material processability) in one cost-effective device. Expected price will be competitive with the other solutions used in the industry, which means savings both in capital expenditure and operating costs. Moreover, the global biomass pellets market is expected to witness a dynamic growth with 11% CAGR during 2014-2019 . There is also a potential of increase in annual domestic supply of biomass for heat and power generation in the EU by 2020 by roughly 1,000 TWh , which is double today’s supply. We consider that thanks to the innovative solution the Company is ready to exploit this business opportunity. PELLETON faces unmet market needs and we would like to be a global leader in this field.
The application of our cost-effective innovation will greatly facilitate the implementation of European Commission’s long-term strategy of a competitive low carbon EU economy [COM(2011) 112]. Thanks to primary energy savings, PELLETON is in line with the EU energy efficiency targets (Directive 2012/27/EU). Moreover, our innovative system is an answer to global trends of energy efficiency [World Energy Council Report; 2013]. Limitation of the above-mentioned issues and their impact are the main objective of the proposed innovation.
"The main objective of the Feasibility Study was to assess the technical feasibility as well as economic viability of the PELLETON implementation on the EU market. The work undertaken within the project resulted in the following deliverables:
• Feasibility Study report – where overview of work done and analysis of technical part of implementation were presented;
• Business Plan – where the financial, strategic and market parts of SME I project were presented.

Above mentioned documents allowed the Company to reach other specific objectives that were defined for the ""SME I"" project, i.e.:
• Identification of potential technical challenges which should be addressed before or during industrial research stage;
• Identification of crucial resources needed to success of next stage of product development;
• Developing exploitation and dissemination plan. Innovation and IP management;
• Examining financial viability;
• Potential partners identification.
Above listed objectives were being achieved by activities done within the SME I project, below we present an overview of the work done and the results.

Conclusions of the action are as follows:
• The target market is absorptive and growing;
• PELLETON responds to the identified needs of the distinguished target groups;
• Competitive advantages of PELLETON ha been identified;
• In the range of intellectual property management, portfolio management methodology was implemented;
• Work plan and budget for next steps of development as well as reaching of 9 TRL is realistic and feasible;
• ZUK Stąporków has sufficient human and financial resources needed to market implementation of PELLETON. Infrastructure and personal gaps has been identified and included in the financial analysis;
• All analyzed economic ratios indicated the viability of the implementation;
• Optimal path of PELLETON commercialization has been chosen – product sales.
Described herein analysis (full description is included in other documents developed i.e. business plan, technical audit report, work plan and budget clearly indicate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the PELLETON market implementation. There are indications to believe that the project will be of a permanent nature, i.e. income from the operations will allow covering operating expenses.
Taking into account the above, main conclusion is that the project shall continue.
Research performed so far has benefited in development of the technology – method of manufacturing pellets from biomass and agricultural wastes, involving pre-fragmentation and cleaning of biomass, characterized in that biomass fragmented to a fraction of about 4-6 cm and agricultural waste fragmented to fraction of about 5 cm is fed to the vibropelletiser assembly, where the pre-forming roller pushes the biomass into the groves and partially into the forming slots of the main die, so that the biomass is pre-compacted and further fragmented. As a result of the rotation of the main dies, the pre-compacted biomass moves under the pressing roller equipped with punches, which rotates synchronously with the movement of the main die, so that the pressing roller punches are driven into the forming slots, wherein, simultaneously to the rotation, the pressing roller also vibrates with an impact energy of 2J to 40J and with frequency 900-3500 strokes per minute, which increases the temperature of the formed pellets to about 110-140°C and consequently evaporates the water and sinters the manufactured pellets.

The solution is now at the sixth technology readiness level (according to General Annex G of the Work Programme). It means that the system prototype was demonstrated and tested in a relevant end-to-end environment which represents a major step up in a technology’s demonstrated readiness. Milestones already achieved include first and second generation prototype positively tested.

One of the main technological challenges will be to design and develop a control system of the automatics system, which results from the fact that the previously used solutions in this area were poorly flexible and dedicated to one type of the batch material. In effect, the change of the batch material resulted in the need to trim the whole system. The solution planned under the project assumes a flexible method of matching the automatics system to the line operation specificity. This will be achieved by the proper installation of appropriate sensors, controllers and inverters. Under the project realization, it is assumed to use independent automatics systems for individual elements of the device coupled in one whole (the aim is to make possible a separate, individual operation of individual elements of the line). The control system has to ensure the operation of the whole system in two modes:
• manual operation mode, in which there is the possibility to individually switch on and off each receiver in two directions, with an option to control the speed of motors provided with frequency converters (inverters),
• automatic operation mode, where three modules are adjustable.
Another essential technological issue is associated with the creation of the demonstrators of the mobile line and the industrial line. The mobile line will be characterized by functions close to an industrial line, but at a specific level they will differ by the engineering details related, first of all, to the obtainment of the effect of mobility. The dimensions and the design of the mobile line should allow for its free positioning on a standard semi-trailer of the TIR-type lorry. This follows from the assumed ease of use and displacement of the line, that is one of the discriminating points of the project subject from the competition. It is assumed that the demonstrator of the mobile line will be made up of:
• feeding table;
• disintegrator;
• devices to separate impurities, stones, waste in the batch material;
• mixer;
• pelletizer;
• pellet coolers.
The operation of the whole system will be provided by a properly designed and made automatics system with a control cubicle.
The industrial demonstrator, due to its size, should operate under a roofing (hall or umbrella roof). The floor on which it will seated should ensure the proper resistance corresponding to the weight of the system. It will also be indispensable to provide all utilities, including exhaus