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Liquids with low heat values

IMCOPA Brazil, Araucária (Brazil)

Liquids with low heat values

A new potential use for molasses and vinasse

Vinasse and molasses are undesirable byproducts of bioethanol and soya bean oil production. Due to their high organic content, vinasse and molasses were traditionally disposed of as slurry over surrounding areas. However, this made them into a double environmental problem, as the organic content pollutes the air on the one hand and the nitrogen they contain contaminates the groundwater on the other. For this reason, a new concept needed to be developed for the pilot plant “Araucária” in Brazil, to allow the environmentally friendly and cost-saving utilization of these byproducts.

Pilot plant converts undesirable byproducts into energy and fertilizers

The pilot plant “Araucária” in the Brazilian state of Paraná is a shining example of how these problematic substances can be recycled to generate profits and alleviate the company’s budget while protecting the environment.

The issue that vinasse and molasses only contain a little energy, but consequently large quantities of water and ash, was efficiently solved by SAACKE: the boiler was specially modified to handle the high ash content and the ash is collected in a controlled manner and removed. As the fuel comes from a biogenic source, this ash can then be used as fertilizer in agriculture. Alongside the aspect of the disposal and generation of energy, the fertilizer production also improves the environmental balance of the plant even further, and thus its profitability at the same time.

The benefit for the customer

The combustion of molasses or vinasse is a classic win-win situation: on the one hand, it is possible to make enormous cost savings, as over 70% of the fossil fuels can be replaced, and on the other hand, the environment benefits not only from the fuel savings, but also from the production of valuable fertilizers from the problematic substances. So it’s no wonder that there are now 4 boiler plants already in operation in Brazil, each generating 40-70 t/h of steam from soya molasses.

The process in detail

The employed SAACKE swirl burners SSB have been specially modified for use in Brazil and are the product of many years of tried-and-tested technology in the industrial and power plant sectors. Their design is suitable for all fuels in principle and generates a broad, short flame.

Because the main air has been extensively swirled, the flame is especially stable and provides a wide control range.

The SSB is equipped with a special muffle for liquids with low heat values. This muffle stabilizes the flame before it passes to the boiler.

In addition to the main fuel, molasses, the SSB modified for Araucária is also equipped for operation with soya bean oil, animal fat, and natural gas. Soya bean oil and animal fat are prepared like a standard fuel and routed to the combustion chamber via the oil gun.

The two additional fuels increase the autonomy of the plant and, in addition to offering cost benefits, also contribute to saving our environment.