406113 Conceptual Process Design and Economic Analysis for Biomass Conversion Technologies to Valuable Chemicals

Monday, November 9, 2015: 12:30 PM
257A (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Yonggang Gao1, Yongliang Chua2, Pavan Kumar Naraharisetti3, Daniel Gait Anak Kumbang3, Tze Yuen Yeo4, Arief Adhitya1, Paul Sharratt5 and Jie Bu6, (1)Process Science and Modeling, Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, Singapore, Singapore, (2)Process science and modeling, Institute of chemical and engineering sciences, singapore, Singapore, (3)Process science and modeling, Institute of chemical and engineering sciences, Singapore, Singapore, (4)Institute of chemical and engineering sciences, singapore, Singapore, (5)Process Science and Modelling, A*Star. Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, Singapore, Singapore, (6)Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES - A*Star), Singapore, Singapore

Economic evaluation is a critical step for building, expanding or retrofitting a bio- or chemical process plant, since economic feasibility is a key factor for investors to invest in a project. In the lifecycle of product development and commercialization, the chances of commercialization are only 1 to 3% at the research stage, 10 to 25% at the development stage, and 40 to 60% at the pilot plant stage [1, 2]. Thus, it is crucial to be able to make rapid economic assessment of major design decisions in the early stages of process development to avoid waste of funds and manpower [3]. Furthermore, such assessment may identify both economic and technological challenges that are present in a given process and help scientists focus on areas that have the greatest impact. In light of this necessity to quickly visualize the economic position of a proposed process, the PEAD (Process Engineering, Analysis and Design) team in ICES (Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences) has developed the iPEAD (Integrated Preliminary Economic Analysis and Design) methodology, which allows economic analysis of a process based on laboratory experiment results and makes the preliminary economic analysis less dependence or even no dependence of Aspen Plus software and professional modeling skills. In this paper, we employ validated iPEADfor economic analysis of two bio- and chemical processes of biomass conversion to valuable chemicals.

As the consumption of non-renewable crude oil becomes a growing environmental concern, using renewable natural resources to produce valuable chemicals has been attracting much attention. In this study, two ICES-developed bio- and chemical processes are analyzed using iPEAD. The first is levulinic acid production from EFB (empty fruit bunch of palm oil) by chemical conversion technology and the second is lactic acid production from EFB by biological conversion technology. The objectives of the economic studies are (1) assess economic viability of the process based on preliminary experimental data; (2) identify the expensive process steps or factors resulting in high cost; (3) provide reasonable improvement suggestions or alternative routes/steps to reduce the cost. Results show that the two processes are profitable and there should be opportunities to reduce the total cost further. The minimum selling prices of levulinic acid and lactic acid are 43% and 16% lower than market prices in 2014, respectively, after considering return on investment and depreciation cost. Thus, it is concluded that the two processes are valuable to scale up to pilot plants for further investigation on process commercialization.


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