Date : 16 October 2023
A recent study  delves into the promising capabilities of VORTA as an energy-efficient biomass pretreatment method. The study underscores its potential for enhancing biomethane production, while also emphasizing its commercial feasibility given its lower specific energy requirements in comparison to other methods.
Biomethane production is a rapidly emerging industry focused on sustainable energy. The quality of biomass is a crucial factor affecting the biomethane production process. Hydrodynamic Cavitation, particularly VORTA, has emerged as a novel technique for biomass pretreatment, showing promising results in enhancing the biomethane potential (BMP).
VORTA has been found to significantly enhance BMP while requiring less energy than other pretreatment methods like acoustic cavitation and conventional milling. Specifically, HC requires only 140–660 kWh/ton of total solids, as opposed to 470–2400 kWh/ton total solids for acoustic cavitation and 450–1400 kWh/ton total solids for milling.
- Precision: Allows for a controlled and predictable cavitation characteristic.
- Efficiency: higher energy efficiency compared to conventional HC devices.
- Scalability: The design of VORTA allows easy modification of the device scale, offering flexibility for processing larger volumes without sacrificing efficiency.
- No clogging: One unique advantage of VORTA is its ability to handle solid biomass without clogging, making it exceptionally versatile in a range of applications.
The study conducted by demonstrates that at a solid loading of >10 kg/m3, vortex-based HC pretreatment can achieve a net positive energy gain.
At typical commercial Anaerobic Digestion (AD) loadings, the net energy gain can be as high as 373 kWh/ton for Sugarcane Bagasse. The study extends its investigation to see if combining milling with HC would yield an even more energy-efficient process. At optimal conditions, it was found that VORTA could enhance BMP by 13%.
For milling to be effective, the milling energy needs be ≤700 kWh/ton to obtain a similar net energy gain. The study also advocates for an integrated biorefinery approach, where the residual fibers rich in cellulose could undergo further biochemical transformations. This promises not just energy gains but also economic viability when considering capital expenditure.
This study makes a compelling case for the adoption of VORTA in biomass pretreatment, not only for its energy efficiency but also for its potential in industrial scalability and commercial viability.
 Nagarajan, Sanjay, and Vivek V. Ranade. 2022. ‘Pretreatment of Milled and Unchopped Sugarcane Bagasse with Vortex Based Hydrodynamic Cavitation for Enhanced Biogas Production’. Bioresource Technology 361 (October): 127663. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2022.127663.