Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

How long has Biogen been in business?

Biogen was started in early 2009.

Is Biogen product protected by intellectual property?

Yes, through patents, patents pending, trade secrets, and copyright.

What size plants are addressed by Biogen?

200 KWe to 20MWe in electricity or heat equivalent; depending upon the modular product size selected, each modular Biogen gasifier can produce up to 1400 m3 per hour of Syngas.   The BTU value of the gas is dependent on several factors including energy contained in the biomass and the moisture content.

How much space do I need for a plant and what does it cost?

Approximately 1 acre per MW installed is the required space.   Cost varies depending upon the site location and site use.   Generally speaking between $2.5M and $4M USD per megawatt is the capital required to install a complete plant.

How much biomass is required?

This depends on the biomass.   Grass and rice husks are light and require more biomass, but in general 1MT of dry biomass will produce 1MWHe (equivalent) of electricity.

Do I need an environmental permit?

Yes in most parts of the world, but the gasifier does not emit environmentally hazardous streams since it is a closed loop system.  The only possible waste stream would be excess water if the biomass is not sufficiently dry.   In that case a water filtration system is added to the site.  If you use the syngas for electric generation then the environmental permit depends on the engine selection.

Why does Biogen focus on biomass as a feedstock?

Biomass is overwhelmingly plentiful.  In fact, many renewable energy scientists and industry experts call the many parts of the world, “The Saudi Arabia’s of Biomass”.  Additionally, there are a number of ways by which using biomass helps to clean up our environment and make it safer.  Using the wood waste left by the lumber and paper industries; keeping wood waste out of landfills; “cleaning” our forests of dead trees and potentially flammable underbrush all helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions and beneficially uses something that would otherwise be wasted.  Additionally, we can grow biomass, non-food energy crops which can provide jobs for farmers who want to grow their business or maybe have lost their business to competition.  And remember that biomass is the oldest form of energy known to Earth – man has been using wood and other organic matter for fuel since the beginning of time.

What feed stocks in general are suitable for the Biogen process?

If I have grass or other non-densified biomass material what needs to be done?

The non-densified biomass will need to put through a cubing machine to allow for sufficient densification of the biomass to operate in a gasification process.

What are the key by-products of the Biogen process and uses?

Will Biogen assist my EPC to design the plant?

Yes, we offer this as a service.

How do I get aftermarket sales, service, and operational support?

Through Biogen and our worldwide partners.

Who does the commissioning of my plant?

Biogen will commission the gasifiers on site and provide the necessary hardware and software integration. Typically the generator company will commission the generators.   The balance of plant can also be addressed depending on the customer needs.

What is the warranty of the gasifier?

One year excluding consumables.

How much should I budget for maintenance of the gasifier per year?

$35,000.00 USD

What is the expected availability of the gasifier?

80 percent.

What is the useful life of the gasifier?

20 years.

How are the Biogen gasifiers shipped?

All of our products are shipped in high cube cargo containers or smaller.   At commissioning final re-assembly is required under supervision by Biogen personnel.  This period also allows time for training of the on-site personnel.

How long does it take Biogen to complete all facets of a new project?

Construction of the project is on average 9 to 12 months primarily based on its modularity and ease of deployment once funding and permitting is in place.

Why Biogen’s projects are considered "carbon neutral"?

All combustion of biomass, whether burned directly or heated indirectly to create a gas or liquid fuel to be consumed, creates CO2 emissions. However, many research papers have determined that the feed stocks used in a biomass energy facility that are sustainable and therefore re-grown, take carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and convert it to plant matter and release oxygen. By definition, within our plants, the carbon converted and emitted in the form of CO2 cannot exceed the amount of carbon we introduce into the system in the feedstock that was grown. Carbon dioxide is considered one of the “greenhouse gases” known to contribute to global warming and climate change.  Because there is no additional carbon trapped in the atmosphere, the process is known as “carbon neutral”.

Biomass and Carbon Emissions

When biomass is converted to energy with the gasification process, all of the carbon released was captured (by the biomass) during its life cycle. This result in no additional carbon added to the environment (unlike resulting carbon emissions from the processing and consumption of fossil fuels, whose carbon has been ‘locked up’ for thousands of years).

Is Biogen a utility company?

Biogen is a technology developer and equipment manufacturer.  We sell equipment and expertise to developers that sell or consume power and/or heat. Additionally projects for specific businesses for internal power are built to help reduce corporate overhead costs or help make them become self- sustainable.

Where does Biogen get biomass for the energy plants?

Biogen uses a number of very different feed stocks as fuel for our plants.  These include wood waste (supports proper forest management, is easily processed, and has good BTU value); road & land clearing debris – industry waste (pallets, sawdust, paper waste, etc.), felled storm debris, urban biomass wastes; rice Hulls & bagasse; energy crops – such as switch grass and biomass sorghum can be grown providing a stable fuel source.  No food crops are ever used as a source of fuel and the growth of energy crops provides new industry opportunities for rural communities.

With a 2 Megawatt plant, for how many homes can you provide electricity?

One Megawatt hour can provide electricity for roughly six hundred and fifty average American homes for one hour, so a 2 Megawatt plant can provide electricity for roughly one thousand three hundred homes in the USA and lot more in less consuming nations.

Does Biogen use corn for biomass or anything else that could be used as food?

 Never!  It is the strict policy of Biogen to not divert any crop that could be used as food to create syngas or energy of any kind.  In fact, our philosophy is to develop new farming opportunities with non-food crops that can be used as feedstock for our plants.  In conjunction with any new project we want to create ancillary jobs for farmers, harvesters, haulers and processors of these energy crops. Agricultural wastes from food crops can be collected and used as viable biomass for energy production further promoting jobs and new revenue streams for the Agriculture Industry.

Is biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW) the same thing?

No.  Biomass refers to all organic substances of relatively recent (non-geological) origin that can be used for energy production, including industrial, commercial, and agricultural wood and plant residues; municipal organic waste; animal manure; and crops directly produced for energy purposes.

 Municipal Solid Waste refers to the solid materials that result from the accumulation of all residential, commercial, and light industrial waste.  It is normally handled by local municipalities and typically deposited in a landfill.  MSW consists of metal, glass, paper, plastic, and dirt, either recyclable or non-recyclable in nature and is not a usable feedstock unless the non-organic MSW is sorted out before gasification.

Is Biogen tearing down forests in order to use the trees as feedstock for our projects?

Absolutely not!  In fact we work closely with various forest support groups and foresters to help our forests thrive for this and endless generations. This can help to create jobs for the individuals that are “cleaning” the forests, hauling the biomass and processing the feedstock for use within the plants.  Biomass renewable energy goes hand in hand with keeping our forests healthy and sustainable.

What are the benefits to the local economies touched by Biogen’s projects?

Biogen can produce dozens if not hundreds of employment opportunities for local communities when a plant project is developed.  There are a number of different sectors where jobs can be created: construction, farming, harvesting, feedstock transportation, feedstock preparation and plant maintenance.  Because often times our plants will be built in rural areas, the impact can be very welcome and have a dramatic improvement on the local economy.

What Makes Biomass Gasification environmentally friendly?

Biomass is organic matter- and Biomass energy development likes to take what is usually thrown away and turn it into energy. Our technology, the Biogen Gasification Process allows business and industry to operate “off the grid” using their own waste stream (pallets, boxes, paper), or materials from agriculture such as farming, milling and ranching. We use clean technology to take the stored energy from these materials and create heating, electricity, even cooling through CHP (Combined Heat and Power).

Is Biomass Gasification a New Technology?

The gasification process has been used for well over 180 years. Until the widespread availability of natural gas in the 1950’s, coal gasification was used to produce the gases used in many city street lights. Commercial development was not seriously explored for decades due to the expanding use of less-expensive petroleum-based products. During the oil crisis of the 1970’s, research and development in biomass gasification technologies were once again brought to the forefront.

What are some issues with Biomass Gasification?

To reduce costs, biomass should be located within 20-50 miles of the gasification facility. Appropriate (and potentially large) storage facilities need to be located in close proximity to the facility. Most importantly, however, is ensuring that a quality and sufficient supply of biomass can be obtained. Transportation can be a cost variable and adds negatively to the environment by using fossil fuels for transportation. This cost can add to the overall cost of generation and can be avoided by using the Biogen modular systems, by installing the micro energy sites at the point of where the agricultural residues are collected.

How does Biomass Gasification compare to Ethanol?

The production of ethanol and the resulting producer gas of biomass gasification require very different processes. Ethanol is produced through the breakdown of starches and sugars in a low oxygen environment to create alcohol fuel. The process of biomass gasification involves heating biomass to create producer gases to be used in various applications.

How does Biogen gasification system compare with other gasification technologies?

  • Complete system: Biogen can provide package service for the entire biomass application;
  • Modular design: occupy small footprint, less civil works, fast fabrication. Easy to deploy where the biomass is, avoiding non-value added transport costs;
  • Scalable solution: Time to market is dramatically reduced and overall installations are scalable with supply and demand, Utilizes agriculture waste and forest management residues, Renewable Energy sites designed to utilize our solutions are ”sized” to the biomass residues available, avoiding supply interruption or additional transportation costs. Our system can manage C4 types of grasses and non-typical biomass which are fast rotation crops, which further improve carbon neutrality and promote use of marginal lands for biomass energy feedstock production. Our system ships complete in a high cube 40ft container, anywhere in the world. Given the size and modularity of the system, local distribution capacity is unaffected. Therefore, expensive distribution costs are avoided;
  • Re-circulating tars: Tar is treated and recycled to the reactor eliminate secondary pollution;
  • No water emissions: System consumes the water extracted from the syngas and is evaporated internally. If the moisture content of the biomass is too high, then a water filtration system is added to the plant;
  • High volt electrostatic precipitator: Very low Tar content in the syngas gas of <50 mg/Nm 3; Our gas is virtually tar free and can be consumed by 100% syngas engines or dual fuel engines without the concern of engine fouling;
  • We utilize the waste heat from generators to dry/condition the biomass residues which qualifies as combined heat and power (CHP). Additionally, the heat can be produced to fire wood kilns, cooking, and process needs in a very environmentally friendly manner;
  • The Biogen System is completely automated and has the capability to control an entire plant with additional programming and hardware.

Is this an incinerator?

No.  It heats the biomass fuel to create Syngas.  The Syngas is directly consumed in an internal combustion engine to create electricity, or directly in a turbine to create steam, or other thermal applications where you can substitute Syngas for LPG or Natural Gas, not to dispose of waste.

Do Biogen Gasification Systems Pollute? What are the byproducts from the biomass gasification process?

The gasification of biomass as a feedstock produces Syngas. The Biogen gasifier is optimized to generate the maximum gas and little else. Bi-products of the process are low-grade activated carbon or (Biochar) and some inert ash. Ideally, these bi-products are combined and returned to the soil as a soil conditioner re-capturing or sequestration of the carbon and nutrients in the soil. The Biochar then reduces the need for fertilizers which in turn improved the economics and waste due to farming.  Waste heat is also produced by the process and can be used for water or space-heating, cooling, manufacturing processes, or for pre-drying the fuel for the gasifier.

Tars that are separated from the gas are re-cycled directly in a “closed-loop” fashion back the reactor and re-burned and used as fuel. By controlling the biomass moisture content by using the waste heat from the Generators, we also limit the water created in a state of equilibrium; therefore the Biogen gasification system creates no waste water streams. The syngas is sent directly to the internal combustion engines when used for electricity, the engine combusts the gas and any post emissions are treated in the engine system and catalytic converter meeting the engine manufacturers’ specifications for emissions.

Why do we need biomass gasification for renewable energy, isn’t wind, solar or other forms of renewable energy enough?

Wind and solar power are key components to the future electricity generation mix because they are low maintenance and greenhouse neutral. Solar generation has the advantage of peaking at the same time as peak air-conditioning loads, and wind energy when networked sufficiently widely with appropriate interconnection can provide base-load generation. However, neither can provide on-demand generation for load-matching – a problem that exists in everywhere, due to our remote location and “islanded” utility generation. Biomass gasification can provide this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and, if supplied from sustainably-harvested fuel, it can be a truly greenhouse-neutral on-demand generation system to complement wind and solar in a carbon-neutral way.

Why do we need biomass gasification now?

Gasification is a clean, affordable and environmentally sound renewable form of energy that provides a solution to forest and agricultural management residue issues we have right now. Another challenge is energy security. Governments want to use their own resources to produce energy and provide energy independence.   We need to displace some of the energy we are literally shipping in from other parts of the world, and, probably more importantly, wean ourselves from dependence on foreign energy suppliers.

What’s the advantage of biomass gasification over production of biofuels?

A Biogen gasifier can accept a range of feed stocks and thus the technology supports a bio-diverse resource base rather than a monoculture energy crop. However the energy density of the gas is far lower than that of liquid bio-fuels, making it more suitable for stationary applications than transport.

Biomass production also removes the same amount of CO2 from the atmosphere as is emitted from gasification.

While other biofuels technologies such as biogas (from landfills) and biodiesel (from agricultural sources) are carbon neutral too, gasification can operate on a wider variety of input materials and can be used to produce a wider variety of output fuels.

What is in the gas that comes out of the gasifier?

The gas from the gasifier (Syngas) is basically composed of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), and nitrogen (N2). The CO and H2 is the combustible portion of the Syngas. It is used similar to natural gas, but it typically has lower energy content. This makes it an effective way to transfer the energy in the feedstock into Syngas to run a steam turbine or generator. Therefore the Syngas is cleaned and it is piped to the turbine or genset, the exhaust is cleaned with state-of-the-art emission control equipment after it has been burned as a fuel. In this way, reliability of the control equipment and quality of the exhaust gas stream are assured to meet all applicable air quality standards.

What can the gas produced in the gasifier be used for?

The gas mixture produced by the gasifier can be used for process heating applications by operating the gasifier in a forced draft (positive pressure) mode and passing the gas directly to a burner on a boiler to make steam for an electrical turbine generator or directly to an internal combustion engine.

Do you provide project financial feasibility studies?

Yes, we do and by working with our customers we can provide detailed financial modeling.   This is paid service up-front, but with a portion to be rebated upon order.

Will Biogen work with my local contractors to design the entire site?

Yes, we offer this as a service under a clearly defined statement of work and typically design the key plant components while the local EPC handles all the structures, permitting, etc plus actual construction.

Where is the factory located?

Autopista Las Americas KM 22, Zona Franca Industrial Las Américas, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  +1-809-549-1004

Can I tour a site?

Yes, first Biogen maintains it’s own test site generating electricity from biomass in the free-trade zone park where the Factory is located.   The site is used to develop and test new technologies as well as having the capability of testing different types of biomass for our customers.  In addition, depending upon your application we can arrange a tour of our customer’s sites if they agree.

How do I get started?

Use the link below or go to the “contacts” page.    Here you will find a simple questionnaire which allows our experts to review your needs before contacting you.  Contacts Us

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