421979 Techno-Economic Risk Analysis of Glycerol Biorefinery Concepts Against Market Price Fluctuation

Thursday, November 12, 2015: 3:45 PM
258 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Carina Gargalo, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, DTU, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark, Peam Cheali, Technical University of Denmark, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Lyngby, Denmark, Krist V. Gernaey, CAPEC-PROCESS Research Center, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark and Gürkan Sin, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

Techno-economic risk analysis of glycerol biorefinery concepts against market price fluctuation

Carina L. Gargalo1, Peam Cheali1, Krist V. Gernaey1 and Gürkan Sin*1

 1CAPEC-PROCESS, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark


A biorefinery integrates biomass conversion processes to produce fuels, power, and chemicals from bio-based feedstock. Through the synthesis of several products, a biorefinery can benefit from the differences in biomass composition and make the most of the value derived from the biomass feedstock. The high-value added bio-products boost profitability, the high-volume fuel helps meet national energy targets, and the power production cuts costs and dodges greenhouse-gas emissions [1] [2] [3].

The increasing amount of biodiesel production worldwide (e.g. from vegetable oils, palm oil, animal fats or recycled greases as feedstock) is generating a large amount of waste crude glycerol as a by-product (for every 10 kg of biodiesel, 1 kg of waste glycerol is produced) [4].  This worldwide increase in biodiesel production led to a surplus in glycerol which subsequently leads to a decrease in the crude glycerol prices. Therefore, in order to increase the economic competitiveness of the biodiesel industry, there is an increasing interest in adding value using the glycerol waste stream as feedstock for the synthesis of bio-derived building block compounds and polymers [5] [6] [7] [8] [4] [9].

Moreover, certain algae species also accumulate large amounts of glycerol and could become another possible source due to the recent development of algae biomass as feedstock for biofuel production [10].

In this contribution, we study and critically analyze a number of glycerol biorefinery concepts developed earlier [11][12][13][14][15] and compare them in terms of techno-economic performance including minimum selling price calculation for potential high-value added products. In particular, we address the challenge of price volatility (both glycerol as feedstock and high-value added chemicals) and the associated economic risks against historical market fluctuations when assessing the economics of competing glycerol biorefinery concepts. The aim is to compare the fitness/survival of the biorefinery concepts under extreme market disturbances. To perform this analysis, we used a superstructure based sustainable design framework developed earlier [16] [1] [17] [10].

The economic risk analysis enables the user to perform a comprehensive assessment of alternatives using a probabilistic framework which helps to design a robust and competitive glycerol biorefinery.


[1]      P. Cheali, K. V. Gernaey, and G. Sin, “Towards a computer-aided synthesis and design of biorefinery networks – data collection and management using a generic modeling approach,” 2013.

[2]      A. Dutta, A. Sahir, E. Tan, D. Humbird, L. J. Snowden-swan, P. Meyer, J. Ross, D. Sexton, R. Yap, and J. Lukas, “Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbon Fuels Fast Pyrolysis Vapors Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbon Fuels Thermochemical Research Pathways with In ,” no. March 2015.

[3]      NREL, “NREL - Biomass research.” [Online]. Available: http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/biorefinery.html.

[4]      A. Drozdzynska, K. Leja, and K. Czaczyk, “Biotechnological production of 1 , 3-propanediol from crude glycerol,” J. Biotechnol. Comput. Biol. Bionanotechnol., vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 92–100, 2011.

[5]      S. Mazumdar, J. M. Clomburg, and R. Gonzalez, “Escherichia coli strains engineered for homofermentative production of D-lactic acid from glycerol.,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol., vol. 76, no. 13, pp. 4327–36, Jul. 2010.

[6]      M. D. Blankschien, J. M. Clomburg, and R. Gonzalez, “Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for the production of succinate from glycerol.,” Metab. Eng., vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 409–19, Sep. 2010.

[7]      X. Chen, Z. Xiu, J. Wang, D. Zhang, and P. Xu, “Stoichiometric analysis and experimental investigation of glycerol bioconversion to 1,3-propanediol by Klebsiella pneumoniae under microaerobic conditions,” Enzyme Microb. Technol., vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 386–394, Sep. 2003.

[8]      S. Shams Yazdani and R. Gonzalez, “Engineering Escherichia coli for the efficient conversion of glycerol to ethanol and co-products.,” Metabolic engineering, vol. 10, no. 6. pp. 340–51, Nov-2008.

[9]      Y. Jiang, W. Liu, H. Zou, T. Cheng, N. Tian, and M. Xian, “Microbial production of short chain diols,” Microb. Cell Fact., vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1–17, 2014.

[10]    C. L. Gargalo and G. Sin, “Sustainable Process Design under uncertainty analysis: targeting environmental indicators,” 2015.

[11]    J. a. Posada and C. a. Cardona, “Design and analysis of fuel ethanol production from raw glycerol,” Energy, vol. 35, no. 12, pp. 5286–5293, Dec. 2010.

[12]    J. a Posada, C. a Cardona, and R. Gonzalez, “Analysis of the production process of optically pure D-lactic acid from raw glycerol using engineered Escherichia coli strains.,” Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol., vol. 166, no. 3, pp. 680–99, Feb. 2012.

[13]    J. a. Posada, J. M. Naranjo, J. a. López, J. C. Higuita, and C. a. Cardona, “Design and analysis of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate production processes from crude glycerol,” Process Biochem., vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 310–317, Jan. 2011.

[14]    C. L. Gargalo and G. Sin, “Computer-aided framework for Sustainable Process Design: targeting conceptual and detailed engineering phases,” in Process Design I, 2014.

[15]    C. L. Gargalo, A. Carvalho, H. A. Matos, and R. Gani, “Techno-Economic, Sustainability & Environmental Impact Diagnosis (TESED) Framework,” 2014.

[16]    C. L. Gargalo, S. Chairakwongsa, A. Quaglia, G. Sin, and R. Gani, “Methods and Tools for Sustainable Chemical Process Design,” in Assessing and Measuring Environmental Impact and Sustainability, Elsevier, 2014.

[17]    P. Cheali, A. Vivion, K. V. Gernaey, and G. Sin, “Algae Biorefinery Processing Networks: Optimal Design of Protein, Ethanol and Biodiesel Production.” ESCAPE/PSE 25, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015.

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