Cellulose based processing

Alfa Laval has applied its extensive experience of sugar and starch-based ethanol processing to the production of ethanol from cellulose. Wood, forest residues and agricultural by-products are all abundant raw materials for bioethanol production, expanding the range of raw materials for producing ethanol as a renewable fuel.

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Pre-treatment/enzymatic hydrolysis

Alfa Laval supplies two different kinds of heat exchangers

– the Alfa Laval WideGap and spiral plate heat exchanger

– for use in cellulose-based ethanol processing. The most appropriate choice depends on the physical properties and the long-fibre content in the cellulose slurry.

WideGap plate heat exchangers were developed specifically for the ethanol industry, with superior port and connection design. Fewer contact points mean fewer places for fibres to get stuck. The wide range of WideGap plate heat exchangers, with ports from 100mm to 350mm in size, ensures that there is a WideGap configuration suitable for every installation – whether a small development set-up or a large-scale production plant.

Alfa Laval spiral plate heat exchangers are ideal for use in processing cellulose slurry with high long-fibre content.

We are also world leaders in the supply of membrane systems for enzyme production.



WideGap heat exchanger solutions make it easy to keep fermentation temperatures under control, even when the cooling water is just one degree cooler than fermentation. If the cellulose slurry is characterized by high long-fibre content, Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers make it easy to deal with this.

Alfa Laval tank cleaning equipment uses powerful rotary jet heads to ensure rapid, reliable fermenter cleaning as well as improving yield and reliability. After fermentation, Alfa Laval high-speed separators recover the yeast, providing the highest possible yield in combination with the lowest operating costs on the market.



Extremely compact Alfa Laval heat exchangers make installation easier and use space more efficiently. The reboilers make it possible to work with even small temperature differences, further optimizing energy efficiency by using lower-quality heat sources. 

An Alfa Laval plate heat evaporator is the ideal solution for dealing with high-viscosity fluids. AlfaVap units are designed specifically for evaporation and the AlfaFlash forced-circulation flash evaporator is ideal as a reboiler for more scaling and fouling fluids, and handles high viscosity in an energy-efficient way due to very high shear stress. This reduces scaling and fouling, and boosts heat transfer.

Alfa Laval flexible gasketed heat exchangers are the most durable equipment available for pressure swing dehydration, where fatigue is often a problem.


Lignin dewatering and stillage concentration

Alfa Laval decanter centrifuges for lignin dewatering provide a reliable and extremely compact alternative. Power plate technology gives them superior separation at the lowest possible power consumption, and plate evaporators ensure maximum uptime and minimum maintenance during stillage dewatering and concentration.