Auburn Hills-based engineering firm Munro & Associates is collaborating with other companies to bring sustainable biomass fuel developed from organic materials to the market in an effort to reduce pollution emissions from power plants.
“Although Munro has worked on several new technologies over the years, rarely does the company make the leap to actually invest in the technologies as well,” says Sandy Munro, CEO of Munro. “This process has the potential to revolutionize the industry,”
Munro is working with Florida-based Biomass Energy Enhancements and United Kingdom’s Active Energy Group to developed a new process that allows biofuels to be generated from materials that cannot be used in other processes, such as reclaimed waste wood and diseased and invasive crops or trees.
Murno says the firm’s engineering team took the original prototype design created by Biomass Energy Enhancements and scaled it up to create the new process and design.â€‹
“According to the U.S. Department of Energy, over 93 million tons of forestry residues are left to rot each year in the U.S. alone and the global figure is vastly higher,” says Chas Fritz, CEO of Biomass Energy Enhancements. “That doesn’t include waste timber from sawmills, construction sites, and other industrial uses such as redundant railroad ties. Our unique process converts all of that material into high-energy fuel, benefitting the environment in numerous ways.”
Fritz says the process explodes the fibers, like popping popcorn, exposing the intra-fiber moisture and soluble salts, which can then be easily removed. Other process can leave a high level of toxic salts in the biomass creating pollution, or leave too much intercellular moisture reducing the energy release from the fuels.
He says the process is also hydrophobic (a physical property of a molecule that is repelled from water), reducing distribution, transportation, and storage costs.