Micromidas Speeds Up Biorefinery Plant Design with Digital Prototyping

by | May 27, 2010

Micromidas is using simulation software from Autodesk to design processing plants that convert organic wastewater into biodegradable and recyclable bioplastics. With the improved efficiency, Micromidas already has completed it first pilot plant design, the Mobile Biorefinery, which is currently under construction. It should be operational within the next three months.

The pilot plant is built on a flatbed truck capable of plugging into wastewater treatment plants across the United States that will allow them to ecologically dispose of their solid waste (or “sludge”) while producing environmentally-friendly plastics.

Micromidas received the software through the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program, which provides software grants to start-up clean-tech companies in North America and Europe. The software portfolio, consisting of Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Algor Simulation, Autodesk Showcase and Autodesk Vault Professional software, helped Micromidas accelerate the design of its processing plants and equipment through digital prototyping technology.

The company pioneered a complex bio-refinery process where microbes — natural microorganisms — consume the carbon in raw waste and convert it into a bacterial polymer that can be harvested and used as plastic.

The processing plants require anywhere from 50 to 100 different machines and systems ranging from centrifuges and hydrocyclones to piping systems, reactors and extruders.

To further help companies develop environmentally-friendly products, Autodesk ntroduced the Project Krypton Technology Preview, a new plug-in for both Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks software that provides real-time feedback during the early stages of designing plastic parts to help product designers understand the environmental impact of their material choices.

Project Krypton Technology Preview provides designers with real-time feedback in three areas: manufacturability, cost efficiency and environmental impact. Autodesk says the instantaneous feedback helps designers make better decisions earlier in the design process so they develop more cost-effective parts that are manufacturable and produced with less environmental impact.

Here are a couple of video demos of the Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks with the Project Krypton plug-in.

The Autodesk Sustainable Design Center, a new online resource, showcases ten of the biggest sustainability challenges Autodesk customers face today and how the company’s software can help engineers and designers make greener decisions.

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