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.
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).