Process Development Unit for biorefinery processes


Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Engineering and Technology

Type of infrastructure

  • Equipment

Name of national/international infrastructure this infrastructure belongs to

Shares some equipment with the Membrane research infrastructure.


The Process Development Unit (PDU) is a collection of unit operations in bench and pilot scale for bioethanol and biorefinery research. The PDU have capability for pretreatment of biomass, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation. The main difference between the research done in laboratory scale (typically 25-400 g dry matter) and the PDU research (typically 2-20 kg dry matter) is the possibility to scale the results obtained in the PDU to pilot plant scale (typically 1 ton/day). At the heart of the PDU three pretreatment reactors reside: two batch reactors and one continuous (for acidic, neutral or alkaline conditions). The batch-reactor systems are based on an in-house design, which has evolved over the years through cooperation with industry. The reactors has 4 and 10 l working volume enabling treatment of 300-1000 g of raw material per batch. The continuous pretreatment system from AdvanceBio Systems has a capacity of 10-20 kg/h depending on raw material. For enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation the PDU is equipped with fermentors ranging in sizes from 5 l (yeast cultivation) to 100 l. The PDU also have filtration, membrane filtration and distillation capabilities in batch and pilot scale. 

Equipment and resources

Supr2G continuous biomass pretreatment reactor from AdvanceBio Systems (max 18 bar steam), 10 l batch pretreatment reactor (max 30 bar steam), 4 l batch pretreatment reactor (max 30 bar steam), 2*30 l fermentors (BioEngineering), 100 l fermentor (BioEngineering), 22 l fermentor (BioEngineering), 16 l fermentor (BioEngineering), 5 l fermentor (BioEngineering), Additional smaller scale fermentors, AMPTS biogas-potential measurement systems, Hydrolysis vessels 40-200 l, Larox pilot filter, Various HPLC systems for biomass and product analysis including Dionex and LC-MS (electrospray), HP5M and HP25M tincture presses.

Services provided

Biomass pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation. Analysis of biomass composition. Filtration and distillation.

All data is generated, stored and transferred locally.

Management of the infrastructure

Ass. Professor Ola Wallberg and Ass. Professor Mats Galbe.

Available for loan

Available for loan - internal and external

Terms of access:

The PDU is accessible for commissioned research for internal and external universities as well as companies. Commissioned research in the PDU typically ranges from one day of pretreatments to 3-month feasibility assessments of different biomasses as substrate for a biorefinery or bioethanol process. All experiments in the PDU are performed by research engineers with long time experience of bioethanol and biorefinery research.