Lixea is developing an innovative biomass fractionation process using low-cost ionic liquids that allows to separate the components of waste wood and agricultural residues into cellulose, lignin and other by- products such as furfural and acetic acid. The construction of the pilot plant in Kristinehamn, Sweden, is now completed, and is currently operating since May 2022 with a feedstock scale of 20kg/batch. The purpose of the pilot plant is to deliver engineering data for next scale-up steps as well as for the license package along with the production of materials for commercial partners and for prototyping.
The process operates above 100oC. To ensure safe working conditions, dedicated hot areas, such as reaction vessels, oil pipes and process pipes needed to be insulated.
“We are very happy that the plant is fully functional now. Having a great insulation solution has made a huge difference – it significantly improved the energy efficiency of the plant! Working with Bilfinger has been an absolute pleasure, from material delivery to completion of the work, everything was executed in a very professional, timely manner.”, says Jennica Ivarsson, Lixea’s COO.
As all pilot plants, Lixea’s system has several bends and flanges, hence the insulation needed to be functional, easy to be removed and cost effective. The challenge was to find the right products given that it is quite a compact facility with the need for full access for operations and maintenance purposes. Stonewool was the natural choice for the insulation material since it is a well-functioning product that fitted perfectly with the pipe dimensions and vessels. The various calculations, such as material thickness needs were done by Bilfinger and a local consulting company, Citec.
“From day one, the collaboration with Lixea was very productive. We felt that, with our extensive experience in insulation solutions, delivered by Bevego, from preliminary calculations to execution, we managed to provide the company with the most flexible and suitable solution for this project, also from a financial point of view for the customer”, says Morgan Vestlund, Bilfinger.