Production of biofuels with LEWA triplex diaphragm pumps in remote-head design

Biofuels made from biomass are promising energy sources. However, during the production of BtL fuels (biomass to liquid) hazardous fluids are metered under critical process conditions such as extreme temperatures and high pressures.

Therefore, producers of biofuels employ hermetically tight LEWA diaphragm pumps in remote-head design. With this technology, the process fluid is thermally separated from the drive unit and the drive head using a hydraulic leverage. Thus, critical conditions of production are kept away from the displacement system and high safety is guaranteed.


LEWA ecoflow diaphragm metering pumps and LEWA triplex process diaphragm pumps in the remote-head design provide the following benefits for producing biofuels:

  • Reliable operation thanks to spatial separation of the valve head and pump drive gear, which drives the displacement system
  • Various options for the spatial separation: Depending on the maximum pressure, temperature and solids content, the valve head can be positioned geodetically higher or lower than the displacement system.
  • Pressure-controlled opening and closing of the fluid valves in alternation forces the fluid in the valve head to move in only one direction in a pulsating flow.
  • Pumps that operate with optimum thermodynamics enable the diaphragm pumps to be used at temperatures up to over 400 °C, which can arise when the biomass is processed in the high-pressure reactor.
  • The hermetic seal of our pump technology ensures reliable conveyance of potentially hazardous, explosive or toxic substances that are necessary for the chemical reaction.
  • The diaphragm pump with sandwich diaphragm made of pure PTFE guarantees process reliability with a long product life cycle.
  • Depending on the properties of the biomass, processing with plunger pumps is also possible.
Biofuel production


How are BtL fuels produced?

BtL (biomass to liquid) fuels are synthetic fuels produced out of biomass. As part of the energy turnaround, the focus has moved to biofuels such as biodiesel, bioethanol and various synthetic fuels. Today, there are different pilot plants for the production of biofuels out of biomass in use. The first step in the production process of BtL fuels is the gasification of the biomass (pyrolysis). In a more or less heavy reacting thermal splitting at temperatures varying from 200 to more than 1000 °C, the chemical structure of the mass is modified. Long molecular chains split up due to the influence of heat. A synthesis gas is produced, which contains hydrocarbons with shorter molecular chains, carbon monoxide and dioxide as well as pure carbon and water vapor. The subsequent step is the synthesis: The synthesis gas is chemically processed, often by using the classic Fischer-Tropsch method.

As a result of this proceeding, different gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons remain, which are used as low-sulfur synthetic fuels in industry. The final products differ chemically from regular fuels like gasoline but still can be used in gasoline or diesel engines, and they can be distributed via already existing gas stations. BtL fuels are second generation biofuels. That means they can be made from a wider spectrum of raw materials than biodiesel or bioethanol. For example, cellulose-rich biomass like straw or wood can be used. Fuel yields per hectare could thus be increased. If slurry, waste wood, compost, dairy or natural waste from food services are used, there are fewer problems because of the scarcity of areas of cultivable land used for food crops and forages.

Source:; June, 2014


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