Chemical Products from Plant Residues

A relatively new business line currently being established is the use of fibrous plant residues to generate bio-based chemicals.

For the extraction of reusable substances, German company BHS-Sonthofen has supplied the largest indexing belt filter in the company’s history to an undisclosed American customer. Commissioning is planned for autumn 2016.

According to the provider, the indexing belt filter of type BF 350-255 (filter area: 90 m2) will process up to 5,000 kilograms of fibrous plant waste hourly, extracting recoverable liquid components generated in a previous production process. The filtrate is used for the manufacture of basic chemicals, while the remaining solids, which could not previously be used, are reprocessed.

“During project planning, the customer had initially envisaged a multi-stage process with a sequence of consecutive screening and filtration steps and with the solids being resuspended several times. The proposal from BHS-Sonthofen to use an indexing belt filter of type BF with a single process step convinced the customer, however,” the German manufacturer of machines and plants for mechanical solid/liquid separation gave account. “Not only is the process much simpler, but it also concentrates the reusable substances to a greater extent. This means that less energy is required for extracting the substances at a later stage in the process.”

As part of the treatment process, the plant waste is first suspended in water. To ensure that the reusable substances dissolved in this can be extracted as effectively as possible, the German-based provider implements a multistage counter-current wash process in the filter plant. Result: The BHS indexing belt filter “extracts approximately 10 percent more recoverable materials than conventional procedures.”

Illustration: BHS-Sonthofen