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Integrated Biorefinery Approach in a Conventional Kraft Pulp Mill Using Hemicellulose Pre-Extraction for Ethanol Production

Hua-Jiang Huang, Shri Ramaswamy, Waleed Wafa Al-Dajani, and Ulrike Tschirner. Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, 2004 Folwell Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55108

The conversion of biomass to biofuels has gained more and more interest recently because of the limited source of fossil fuels, greenhouse gases contributing to global warming due to the use of fossil fuels, the increase demand of energy in the world, especially in developing countries, and the need for renewable energy.

In the near future, integrated biorefineries (IBR) based on pulp mills could become the most important lignocellulosic biorefineries due to availability of additional forest residues, synergies with existing infrastructure and potential capital and operating cost benefits. Therefore, it is important to analyze and compare the process techno-economic performance of conventional Kraft pulping and pulp mill-based biorefinery with pre-extraction of hemicellulose for ethanol production. Experimental data has been used in developing the modified model with hemicellulose pre-extraction.

The objective of this presentation is to perform simulation of a conventional Kraft pulping process using the simulator WINGEMS and a modified pulp mill, i.e., an integrated biorefinery based on pulp mill with pre-extraction of hemicellulose for ethanol production by using Aspen Plus, and then comparison of these two processes by techno-economic analysis, in terms of energy (heat and power) consumption or generation, total capital costs, operating costs, and production cost, etc.

The comparative study shows that the integrated biorefinery based on pulp mill using hemicellulose pre-extraction could bring added value and much needed increased revenue for pulp and paper industry.