The pilot plant

The pilot plant is a prototype on a smaller scale than a commercial plant, but containing all the elements of the process. This allows evaluating and optimizing the performance at a lower cost and with greater ease to carry on research and technical adjustments. It consists of:

+ Hydrolysis tanks, where carcasses and pig slaughterhouse waste (boiled blood, hair, etc.) are hydrolysed.

+ Biogas plant consisting of:

  • Homogenization tank, where all wastes and by-products are blended, with the exception of pruning debris and waste wood.
  • Hygienisation tank, which removes some pathogens and heat the mixture, enhancing the production of biogas in the following stages.
  • Digester, where the mixture coming from the homogenisation tank undergoes methane fermentation.
  • Biogas burner.
  • Steam boiler, heated by the biogas burner.

+ Evaporator-dryer, which dehydrates the digestates for their later use in the production of RDF pellets.

+ Shredder, which transforms pruning and garden debris and wood waste into chips of up to 2 cm in size.

+ Blender, which combines the dried digestate from the evaporator with the culling wood and pruning debris previously shredded.

+ Pelletizer, which converts the product resulting from the blender in a pelleted RDF fuel suitable for the biomass boiler.

+ Biomass boiler, where pellets will be burnt to produce heat in the form of hot water and steam, that will be transferred to the evaporator-dryer and the pelletizer (which are the largest consumers of this type of energy in the plant).

The pilot plant will process a total of about 36 400 kg/year of waste and by-products, which represents only 0.002% of the estimated mass generated annually in the town of Lorca (Murcia, Spain). An industrial-scale plant would allow treatment of all by-products and wastes of this type produced in the municipality (more than 18 000 tons per year).


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