Advanced Pilot Plant Validates Alternative Energy Technology

EPIC Systems successfully developed a custom pilot plant for biomass to liquid fuel conversion. The innovative solution, which utilized a multi-stage separation process, was safe for lab workers, could be easily relocated or repurposed, and provided a clear path to production-sized operations. 

Hygienic Process System Design



  • Industry: Environmental
  • Company Size: Fortune 500, $246BB in revenue
  • Customer Use Case: Process Intensification System



As part of their journey towards sustainable energy solutions, a Fortune 500 company needed to develop a custom-engineered pilot plant for converting biomass into liquid fuel. However, several significant challenges needed to be overcome for this project to be a success. The process required scaling up proprietary technology from lab-scale to industrial-scale, a task fraught with complexities. Designing the pilot plant within a compact footprint with enclosed walls posed logistical challenges, especially in ensuring accessibility to critical processes and equipment. Integrating scalable technologies for industrial feasibility testing demanded careful consideration and expertise. Choosing an appropriate heat source for the conversion process emerged as a major concern, given the project’s requirements. Finally, the absence of pre-existing utility systems added another layer of complexity to the project.  



EPIC Systems approached these challenges with a comprehensive strategy tailored to the client’s requirements. During a Front-End Engineering (FEE) stage, EPIC engineers developed a physical modular plant and Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) based on client-provided lab-scale testing data and process flow diagrams. Detailed discussions with the client refined the concept and operational stages, with additional recommendations for intermediate processing steps. 

Final P&IDs were meticulously developed, and scale-up work began using 2D and 3D modeling software, ensuring a thorough understanding of the plant’s layout and design. 

EPIC delivered a self-contained automated advanced laboratory skid capable of multi-stage biomass to liquid fuel conversion, incorporating industrial technologies suitable for production-scale operations. This included designing a demonstration skid with a specialized industrial heater to test the production-sized heating process. 

Since there were no pre-existing utility systems for this plant, EPIC’s scale-up specialists included an exhaust system, drainage system, and spill management system within the pilot plant itself. This eliminated the need for external site modifications. Additionally, the fully enclosed design of the skid ensured containment within the unit, enhancing safety protocols.  

Strategic placement of over a dozen sampling points allowed the client to monitor process efficiencies and product states, while a valving system facilitated the collection of multiple samples at different operational stages for analysis. 

An extended testing period at EPIC’s fabrication shop enabled the identification and resolution of unforeseen issues, saving the client significant time during the on-location start-up phase. 

Once finalized, the pilot plant was certified as safe for lab workers. Its modular design facilitated easy relocation to other facilities or repurposing for different projects. Guided by EPIC’s scale-up specialists, the final skid offered a precise roadmap for the full-size buildout of the pilot plant. 




  • Elimination of External Site Modifications: The inclusion of comprehensive utility systems within the pilot plant eliminated the need for external site modifications, simplifying installation and reducing project complexities.
  • Clear Path to Production: EPIC’s integration of scalable technologies and expertise provided the client with a clear path to production-sized operations, enabling seamless scalability. 
  • Reduced Start-Up Time: EPIC’s extended testing in the shop, facilitated by the same project manager and controlled environment, resulted in a streamlined start-up process, saving valuable time and resources.
  • Inherent Safety and Portability: The pilot plant’s inherently safe design ensured the safety of lab workers, while its contained modular design enabled easy relocation or repurposing, enhancing versatility and long-term value. 

unlock your manufacturing potential

Connect with an EPIC engineer to discuss how our solutions can revolutionize your business.

More Client

Success Stories

Multi-Skid Process System for a New Time-Release Fragrance Technology

Multi-Skid Process System for a New Time-Release Fragrance Technology

EPIC’s innovative solutions and meticulous project management enabled the successful design, fabrication, and delivery of multi-skid systems, addressing many challenges faced by the consumer fragrance company and ensuring seamless production of their new product.

Our Solutions

EPIC Systems is a multidisciplinary engineering integrator specialized in industrial automation for process manufacturers. We deliver solutions in the following areas:

Process Systems

Machine Vision


Industrial Automation