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Idaho National Laboratory

About Idaho National Laboratory

Since 1951, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has hosted more than 50 nuclear reactors, making it home to the largest concentration of reactors in the world. Today, the lab works to sustain core technical capabilities and develop innovative solutions that advance nuclear and other clean, smart and secure energy systems.

INL's Bioenergy Program identifies and addresses challenges in scaling feedstock supply systems for biofuels, biopower and other bio-products. INL's feedstock supply chain research and development (R&D) capabilities consist of supply and logistics, analysis and sustainability, preprocessing, and characterization.

INL's capabilities fall largely within the Terrestrial Feedstock Logistics (FSL) R&D voucher opportunities.

Capabilities

Advanced Preprocessing Capabilities focus on increasing feedstock supply chain efficiencies and feedstock supply availability, while reducing feedstock supply risk. Projects in this area identify and vet preprocessing technologies to reduce processing and transportation energy requirements, reduce feedstock variability, and minimize losses due to microbial degradation, while maximizing the amount of biomass available for conversion.

Feedstock Conversion Interface Capabilities work at the interface between the feedstock resource and the conversion refinery, focusing on understanding the impact of feedstock logistics and preprocessing on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of feedstocks, and their impact on conversion performance. Projects in this area focus on meeting the cost and volume targets required for the Billion-Ton Economy while still meeting the quality targets of the different conversion platforms. Blending is one option the INL Bioenergy Program is pursuing that increases access to resources while decreasing cost and meeting conversion in-feed quality requirements. Storage performance characterization is a unique in-lab capability available at INL.

Analysis and Sustainability Capabilities include sustainability analyses, supply and logistics analyses, supply system risk analyses, supply chain design, state of technology assessments, as well as other engineering and logistics analyses projects.

Facilities

Biomass Feedstock National User Facility (BFNUF) is a 27,000-square-foot facility, supporting scale-up and integration of biomass preprocessing processes and systems. The User Facility is arguably the most complete feedstock preprocessing R&D facility in the world. Our biomass feedstock Process Demonstration Unit (PDU) is a completely integrated pilot-scale biomass preprocessing system that includes hammer mill grinders, a rotary dryer, a pellet mill, and a cuber. This system is capable of processing a variety of feedstocks (including crop residues and grasses, wood chips and logging residues, and even municipal solid wastes) to provide industrial feedstocks for testing and validation of conversion processes. INL works with industry users in process development for design and scale-up of front-end preprocessing and feed handling systems. With production capacities up to 5 tons per hour, we also provide toll processing to supply industry collaborators with industrial feedstocks for testing and validation of their conversion processes.

Biomass Feedstock Library (housed in BFNUF) provides a robust mechanism to store, track, access, and analyze critical information about biomass feedstock resources. The Library is both a physical repository and knowledge database of biomass feedstock quality attributes that support research, provides fundamental data on biomass characteristics (i.e., quality attributes such as ash or composition), and provides tools to support decision making.

Biomass Characterization Laboratory (housed in BFNUF) compliments the PDU with physical, chemical, and conversion performance testing to increase understanding of the impact of feedstock preprocessing on feedstocks characteristics, and, ultimately, on conversion performance.

Additional Information