Biorefinery Technology

Wood Products & Bioeconomy


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Processing machinery with stairs up the middle and a big white tank to the right

Building on the Great Lakes region’s powerful economic engine of timber and agricultural processing, the Biorefinery Technology Group works with industry scientists, academics and entrepreneurs to establish and support bioprocessing industries by:

  • developing and commercializing new technologies,
  • accelerating development of new renewably-sourced products,
  • providing experimental and pilot-scale facilities.

We serve a wide variety of existing industries, including:

  • biomass harvesting and transportation
  • processing and pulping
  • feed and food
  • biofuels
  • packaging and distribution

With our additional investment in research and piloting capabilities we will be expanding to include renewable plastics and polymers, bio-based chemical feedstocks, and advanced biofuels.

Biorefinery technology customers can access pilot facilities to scale up bio-processing technologies through strategic partnerships with two remote pilot plant facilities. The Cellulose Pilot and Processing Laboratory in Wausau, Wisc., houses a two-ton-per-day pilot digester suitable for biomass fractionation, a pulp washing unit, a lignin recovery unit, a cellulose hydrolysis system, a fermentation facility, and a biopolymer production equipment. The NRRI Energy Laboratory in Coleraine, Minn., houses a 12-ton per day torrefaction preprocessing system and biomass gasification systems. Future upgrades will incorporate technology platforms to produce advanced biofuels as well as chemical feedstocks.

For more information contact: Eric Singsaas, Initiative Director, esingsaa@d.umn.edu, (218) 788-2648