The BenchCAT™ family of instruments are custom-designed microreactors, which are fully automated and designed for unattended operation. All BenchCATs are designed around: number of gas inlets, number of liquid pumps, flow rates, pressure and temperature maximums, reactor material, preference of control software, future upgrade possibilities, etc…. BenchCAT microreactors can be designed to conduct iso-thermal or temperature-programmed experiments and analyze the effluent with a mass spectrometer, gas chromatograph, FTIR, or your choice of detector. Single or multi-station instruments are available. Microreactors built specifically for Biofuel applications are also part of this line of instruments.
Altamira Instruments has extensive experience in the design and construction of BenchCAT reactors for biofuel applications. The study of biofuel processes has become a significant area of research over the past few years. Although it is still very much at the research stage, significant progress is being made so that some form of commercial process is likely in the near future.
Biofuel is a catch-all term for any fuel not derived from fossil fuels. In its simplest form it can be ethanol derived from sugar cane or corn via fermentation. Alcohols, however, do not have the energy content of more conventional fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel oil and current efforts are aimed at developing biofuels that are indeed similar to gasoline or diesel.
Biofuels have multiple sources, such as municipal waste, wood chips, soybeans, or algae. Depending on the source, a different process and thus different reactor design and conditions are used. We look here at three processes for the production of biofuels in which Altamira Instruments has participated with a BenchCAT reactor design and construction.