275243 Sustainable Processing of Water Hyacinth Through a Distributed Biorefinery System
Sustainable Processing of Water Hyacinth through a Distributed Biorefinery System
José Ezequiel Santibañez-Aguilar,1 J. Betzabe González-Campos,1 José María Ponce-Ortega,1 Medardo Serna-González1, and Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi2, 3
1Chemical Engineering Department, Universidad Michocana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México, 58060
2Chemical Engineering Department, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA, 77843
3Adjunct Faculty at the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Water hyacinth is a major nuisance of water bodies. In addition to blocking pathways, this plant quickly consumes the available nutrients in the water as well as dissolved oxygen thereby affecting the aquatic life in the water bodies as well as human activities such as fishing. To eliminate this plant from the water bodies, several techniques have been implemented (including chemical, physical and mechanical elimination techniques, many of them with severe environmental consequences). Much more work is needed to address this problem because the very high growth rate of water hyacinth. Recently, several papers have reported the possible use of water hyacinth as feedstock to produce biofuels, compost, chemical products, green manure, and paper, among others. In this regard, this paper presents an economical and environmentally sustainable alternative to address this problem, where water hyacinth is used as a raw material to produce a set of products as well as clean water (see Figure 1). Since the water hyacinth is geographically located in a given region, a distributed processing system is required considering the installation of both preprocessing and central facilities to take advantages of the economies of scale. In this work the objective is to present a mathematical programming formulation to address the optimal design of distributed biorefinery systems of water hyacinth according to economic and environmental criteria. The proposed model is based on the superstructure shown in Figure 2 and it takes into account a set of water bodies as sources of water hyacinth for biomass and water production. The biomass can be processed using different technologies to obtain several products, which can be sent to the available markets. On the other hand, the water extracted from water hyacinth can be treated to separate the pollutants (because the roots of water hyacinth absorb several pollutants helping this way to clean the water bodies) and to obtain clean water. The proposed model is applied to a case study in the central part of Mexico, which is a region with several lakes highly congested with water hyacinth. The results show that water hyacinth elimination can be economically attractive when the distributed treatment system proposed in this paper is considered.
Figure 1. Schematic representation for the addressed problem.
Figure 2. Proposed superstructure for the sustainable use of water hyacinth.
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum