Mainstream Engineering Awarded Grant from the Department of Energy to Improve In-plant Biomass Preprocessing Equipment

ROCKLEDGE, FL – October 1st, 2015 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a 29-year-old Brevard County research and manufacturing company, has been awarded a contract from the Department of Energy (DoE) to develop a feedstock preprocessing system to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the cost of biomass pre-processing and conveyance.

With growing concern about the sustainability and environmental impact of fossil fuels, interest in and demand for biomass-derived fuels has risen steadily. A wide variety of renewable feedstock materials are required to ensure a steady supply and reduce costs. However, to ensure the produced biofuel is consistent of high quality, the feed must be processed to meet certain thresholds for particle size and moisture content. Conventionally, these processes, i.e., milling and drying, are energy and maintenance-intensive.

Mainstream Engineering has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant to demonstrate a more efficient preprocessing system for in-plant biomass conversion systems such as pyrolysis or gasification. The program objective is a 10% reduction in the operating and maintenance (O&M) cost by combining process equipment responsible for feedstock drying, milling, and conveyance. The ultimate goal is to reduce the capital and O&M costs of preprocessing and solids handling, thereby enabling more cost-competitive production of advanced biofuels.

Engineers at Mainstream are also developing technology to support a distributed approach to biofuel production using a portable fast pyrolysis process. This approach converts the biomass at the biomass source, eliminating the costs needed to transport low-density biomass to a centralized facility. Mainstream’s pilot-scale pyrolysis reactor (100 pound/hour) will serve as the demonstration platform for this DoE-funded effort to improve the feedstock logistics.

About Mainstream Engineering
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a solutions-oriented research, development, and manufacturing small business with a history of leading-edge R&D that has resulted in advanced, American-made, cost-competitive products. Founded in 1986, Mainstream’s mission is to transition thermal control, energy storage, and energy conversion technology into high-quality, cost-effective, environmentally-safe green, commercial products. Products include lightweight diesel engines, thermal control units, biomass conversion technologies, refrigerators/freezers for shipping containers, and the QwikProducts™ line of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products. Areas of research include thermal control, energy conversion, power electronics, turbomachinery, chemical technology, and materials science.