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Frontline BioEnergy’s Iowa pyrolysis project progresses

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On 8 June, Frontline BioEnergy delivered the final module of the Stine pyrolysis plant to the project site in Redfield, Iowa.

The Stine pyrolysis project, a collaboration between Stine Seed Farms and Frontline BioEnergy, will transform biomass into biochar and bio-oil. Frontline took the project from conception through detailed engineering and fabrication.

Work on the 9-module pyrolysis plant took place at Frontline’s headquarters in Nevada, Iowa. Stine Seed Farms is currently installing the equipment at its site. The two companies will partner to commission and start up the plant this summer.

“This project will bolster Iowa’s farming industry by creating a value-added market for corn stover and other unused biomass,” said Harry Stine, Stine’s CEO.

“This pyrolysis process can convert relatively unused agricultural by-products into a biochar soil amendment that improves nutrient and moisture utilisation in the soil and will allow farmers to realise greater returns on their crops.”

Autothermal pyrolysis (ATP) is a process developed and patented by Iowa State University (ISU) researchers, including Frontline’s own Joseph Polin PhD. It can be used to convert agricultural and forest waste into usable products without the combustion required by many conversion facilities.

The plant will produce biochar, which will be used as a soil amendment on farmland; bio-oil, which can be used to produce bio-asphalt or refined to create diesel and jet fuel; and thermal energy, which can be used for process heat or electrical generation.

Frontline CEO Jerod Smeenk added: “The ATP technology overcomes the scaling limitations that have plagued most pyrolysis technologies.

“The Stine Seed Farm 50 tons-per-day project is the next step to demonstrate the scalability and operability of this unique process. Frontline is pleased to partner with Stine and ISU on this cutting-edge innovation.”