Technical Equipment / Research Infrastructures

BEST offers extensive pilot and laboratory facilities at all sites.
The following is a selection of our key R&D infrastructure:

Biomass combustion

  • 350 kWth biomass rotary wheel furnace with hot water boiler
  • 180 kWth biomass grate furnace with hot water boiler
  • 50 kWth grate furnace coupled with an electrically heated drop tube
  • R&D test stands for boilers and single-room fireplaces Natural draught chimney with variable combustion air supply and comprehensive measurement equipment
  • Test stand with dilution tunnel for particle emission measurements according to the EPA method
  • Mobile hydronic test benches providing defined load conditions for boilers on test stands
  • Electronically controlled hydronic test systems for operating boilers under varying loads and simulated load curves
  • Calorimetric chamber for direct determination of efficiency, evaluation of heat pump technologies for room heating appliances and determination of radiation
    losses in stoves
  • Climatic chamber for measurement and evaluation of heat generators under adjustable environmental conditions (12 m² floor space)
  • Boiler and buffer storages for system tests of complete domestic heating and sanitary water supply systems incl. simulation of a secondary heat source (eg. solar system, etc.)
  • Test equipment for catalyst evaluations
  • Determination of release rates for off-gassing products in fuel storage (kinetic apparatus)
  • Lab reactor for combustion simulation in grate furnaces and torrefaction, pyrolysis and gasification processes (macro-TGA, 0.4 kg fuel)
  • Single-particle reactor (SPR) with various online-coupled detectors for analysing the thermal conversion behaviour of single particles

Biomass gasification / gas purification / synthesis

  • 1 MWth dual fluidized bed steam gasification plant
  • 5 kWth fluidized bed for combustion and gasification tests
  • Product gas pretreatment to synthesis gas quality for 40 Nm3/h of product gas (removal of catalyst poisons such as sulphur, compression to 25 bar)
  • Hot gas treatment for clean gas applications (e.g. synthesis processes, fuel cell) including filtration, desulphurization and CO shift catalysis (5 m3/h)
  • Test plant for separation of hydrogen from the product gas and purification of the hydrogen to fuel cell quality
  • Mobile test facility (amine scrubber) for CO2 separation (5 kg/h CO2)
  • Synthesis plant for the production of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) products such as diesel, kerosene and biowaxes (1 barrel per day)
  • FT synthesis of liquid fuels at lab scale (5 Nm3/h product gas)
  • Laboratory scale synthesis of mixed alcohols (1-2 N m3/h synthesis gas)
  • Vacuum rectification of synthetic liquid fuels (20 L)

Bioconversion (partially property of scientific partner BOKU)

  • Automated test rigs from lab to pilot scale (2-500 L)
  • Membrane bioreactors
  • Automated test facilities for waste water purification at lab and pilot scale (1 – 200 L)
  • Lab facilities for algae cultivation (0.1 – 10 L)
  • Tubular photo-bioreactor (250 L)
  • 4 sterile laboratory fermentation reactors incl. online exhaust gas analysis (CH4, CO2, O2, H2)
  • Fully automated 10 L reactor for gas fermentation (e.g. methanation)

Biomass pretreatment

  • Size reduction of solid biomass fuels – wood splitters / shredders / cutting mills for production of test fuels
  • Mixers for fuel blending
  • Laboratory pellet press
  • Biomass digestion facilities (thermal and thermochemical pretreatment of substrates)

Measurement and analysis

  • Measurement and sampling equipment also for industrial applications

Combustion gases

  • Flue gas analysers for O2, CO, CO2, NO, NO2, NOx, SO2, H2, CH4
  • Flame Ionization detector (FID) for analysis of volatile hydrocarbons
  • Chemiluminescence detector (CLD) for measuring nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2)
  • FT-IR analyser for multi-component gas analysis (e.g. HCl, HCN, H2S,…)

Product and synthesis gases

  • Product gas analyser for CH4, H2, CO2, O2, CO
  • Micro-GC system (monitoring of CH4, H2, CO2, O2, CO, BTX, C2 and C3 components, H2S and COS)
  • Gas chromatography (GC-FID) for online analysis of BTX and naphthalene
  • Gas sampling apparatus for determining HCl, SOx, NH3 and heavy metals in flue gas
  • Sampling equipment for determining benzo(a)pyrene in exhaust gases
  • Methodology and equipment for measuring tar and chemically reactive compounds in product gases of gasification/pyrolysis processes

Particles in gases

  • Dilution units (porous tube diluter, turbulent mixers)
  • Total dust acc. to VDI 2066
  • Cyclones for dust fractionation (Dekati)
  • Dekati gravimetric impactor (DGI)
  • Online particle size distribution using an electric cascade impactor (ELPI)

Other equipment

  • Online corrosion probes for high-temperature and low-temperature application
  • Deposition probes
  • Pyrometer for determining radiation-corrected flue gas temperature
  • Thermal imaging camera (-50 to 350 °C)
  • Measuring flow rate, temperature, pressure and humidity in gases
  • Hardware and software for data recording and measurement data analysis for long-term monitoring

Specially equiped laboratory for biomass analysis (fuels, ashes, condensates, tars, substrates, …)

  • Water purification systems
  • Sample homogenization (cutting, centrifugal, planetary ball, mixer and ball mills)
  • Drying ovens and muffle furnaces (different atmospheres; dry matter, ash content, loss on ignition, volatiles, …)
  • Digestion equipment (microwave assisted digestion, combustion digestion)
  • Extraction (shaker, rotavapor, Soxhlet, microwave extraction)
  • Calorimeter for heating value determination
  • Multi-phase elemental analysers for fractionated determination of C and H
  • Determination of N content (elemental analyser and acc. to Kjeldahl)
  • Inorganic elemental analysis for determining main, minor and trace elements using AAS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS
  • Ash melting behaviour using a heating microscope and automatic image analysis
  • Thermogravimetric systems
  • TGA/DTG/DSC coupled with MS for determining kinetic data in thermal biomass conversion and monitoring of volatile compounds
  • TGA with water vapor furnace for the simulation of thermal conversion processes in humid atmosphere (e.g. steam gasification, coal activation)
  • Liquid chromatography (LC) including conductivity detection (ion chromatography for anions) and MWD detector (PAH, volatile organic acids etc.)
  • Gas chromatography (GC with gas and liquid injection, headspace, SPME)
  • Determination of CO2, CO, CH4, VOC (FID/TCD)
  • Analysis of product and synthesis gases including hydrocarbons up to C4 (FID/TCD)
  • Analysis of sulphur compounds with a detection limit of 10 ppb (SCD)
  • Simulated distillation of C9-C60 hydrocarbons (FID)
  • Analysis of organic trace elements (BTX, tar components, etc.) and identification of unknown substances (MS)
  • UV/VIS spectrometer (ammonium, sulfide, cyanide, phenol index, silica, phosphate, nitrate, chromate, etc.)
  • Titration (buffer capacity, Fe (II)/(III), …)

Some more details:

Fixed bed lab-scale reactor

Single particle reactor / Einzelpartikel Reaktor