USPTO makes available online Sundrop Fuels' patent application for 'pretreatment of biomass using steam explosion methods'; application filed on June 22, 2012

WASHINGTON , January 9, 2014 () – By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Ampulski, Robert S. (Fairfield, OH); Turner, John T. (West Chester, OH); Simmons, Wayne W. (Longmont, CO), filed on June 22, 2012, was made available online on January 2, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Sundrop Fuels, Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The technology was originally conceived to make medium density fiberboard with dry wood chips. Other processes require multiple steps of grinding the wood chips, drying the chips, re-grinding the chips, moisturizing the fibers, densifying the fibers, and then densifying the wood chips (such as in the form of pellets). These processes are complex, capital intensive and require large amounts of energy. Some other typical processes need to dry the chips of biomass and then grind the chips to very small dimensions before sending them to a subsequent heating/processing unit. This drying and grinding takes a lot of energy and capital costs. These processes produce small fibers but ones that are many times the size of the fine particles produced by a Steam Explosion Process (SEP)."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "An integrated plant that includes a steam explosion unit and biomass gasifier to generate syngas from biomass. A steam explosion unit applies a combination of heat, pressure, and moisture to the biomass to make the biomass into a moist, fine particle form. The steam explosion unit applies steam with a high pressure to heat and pressurize any gases and fluids present inside the biomass to internally blow apart the bulk structure of the biomass via a rapid depressurization of the biomass with the increased moisture content. Those produced moist, fine particles of biomass are subsequently fed to a feed section of the biomass gasifier, which reacts the biomass particles in a rapid biomass gasification reaction to produce syngas components. Alternatively, the moist, fine particles may be processed into densified forms (such as pellets) to facilitate economic transport to facilities for further processing to liquid fuel, heat/power, animal feed, litter, or chemicals.


"The multiple drawings refer to the example embodiments of the invention.

"FIG. 1 illustrates a flow schematic of an embodiment of a steam explosion unit having an input cavity to receive biomass as a feedstock, two or more steam supply inputs, and two or more stages to pre-treat the biomass for subsequent supply to a biomass gasifier.

"FIG. 2 illustrates a flow schematic of an embodiment of a steam explosion unit having a steam explosion stage that supplies particles of biomass to either a dryer, the torrefaction unit, a densification unit, the biomass gasifier, or to a catalytic converter.

"FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate embodiments of flow diagrams of an integrated plant to generate syngas from biomass and generate a liquid fuel product from the syngas, or biomass in a densified form.

"FIGS. 4A-C illustrates different levels of magnification of an example chip of biomass having a fiber bundle of cellulose fibers surrounded and bonded together by lignin.

"FIG. 4D illustrates example chips of biomass exploded into fine particles of biomass.

"FIG. 4E illustrates a chip of biomass having a bundle of fibers that are frayed or partially separated into individual fibers.

"FIG. 5 illustrates a flow schematic of an embodiment for the radiant heat chemical reactor configured to generate chemical products including synthesis gas products.

"While the invention is subject to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will herein be described in detail. The invention should be understood to not be limited to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Ampulski, Robert S.; Turner, John T.; Simmons, Wayne W. Pretreatment of Biomass Using Steam Explosion Methods. Filed June 22, 2012 and posted January 2, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Sundrop Fuels Inc.

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