278683 Techno-Economic Analysis of Biomass Catalytic Pyrolysis

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: 10:30 AM
303 (Convention Center )
Rajeeva Thilakaratne1, Yihua Li2, Tristan Brown3, Robert C. Brown1 and Guiping Hu2, (1)Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, (2)IMSE, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, (3)Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University, Ames, IA


Due to mounting interest in pyrolysis as a biorenewable substitute for fossil fuels, a study was carried out to quantify the economic feasibility of the catalytic pyrolysis pathway. Catalytic pyrolysis is the only form of pyrolysis to have been commercialized. Catalytic pyrolysis is focused on reducing the oxygen content in the intermediate product (bio-oil) to minimize costly hydrogen consumption during upgrading.

CHEMCAD simulation software was used to model the catalytic pyrolysis process, using publically available data from the companies and national labs involved in pathway research. A discounted cash flow rate of return (DCFROR) spreadsheet was used to evaluate the minimum fuel selling price (MFSP) of the pathway’s hydrocarbon-based transportation fuel products. The study revealed that the MFSP obtained is low enough relative to gasoline and diesel fuel to consider catalytic pyrolysis as a prospective alternative to petroleum-based fuels. In addition, the main contributing areas to the capital and operational costs were investigated and a sensitivity analysis was used to identify the factors having the greatest impact on MFSP.

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