468351 The Effect of Technology Choices on the Biorefinery Value Chain: Facile Analysis Using the Value Chain Assessment Platform (VCAP)

Friday, November 18, 2016: 9:30 AM
Golden Gate 8 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Madeleine J. Bussemaker1, Nikolaos Trokanas2 and Franjo Cecelja1, (1)Process and Information Systems Engineering Research Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, (2)Centre for International Manufacturing, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Due to the high production cost of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass, it is anticipated that lignocellulosic conversion will focus on biorefining to numerous fractions for the chemical production industry. Lignocellulosic biomass consists mainly of three key polymers, lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose which can be further converted to a number of feedstock and end user chemicals. To this end, value chain optimisation analysis may be used to determine the most profitable scenario. Previously, a Value Chain Assessment Platform (VCAP) was presented which is a platform that facilitates the assessment of biorefinery value chains.1 VCAP combines a user friendly interface and an optimisation algorithm into a web service that is easy to use. This work focuses on the application of VCAP for analysis of technology choices concurrently with value chain analysis for lignocellulosic biomass.

Currently, in most configurations of lignocellulosic conversion, the hemicellulose and cellulose sugar streams are used for conversion to ethanol while the lignin stream is either recycled for energy or discarded. In order to move toward a sustainable, circular bioeconomy, the utilisation of each stream must be considered. However the conversion of lignin to high value products often occurs at cost to the process either through more expensive technologies required or lower yields of products from hemicellulose and cellulose. Hence, in an ethanol refinery, lignin is used as an energy source rather than a feedstock for chemical products. This work will explore the conversion of lignocellulose to ethanol using two different biorefinery configurations. Firstly, a lignocellulosic ethanol plant, with steam pretreatment will be considered, which recycles solids and lignin for heat and electrical energy production.2 Secondly, an ionic liquid biorefinery will be considered, which is able to produce high value lignin alongside ethanol.3 VCAP will then be used to evaluate these two options, as well as the options for lignin use as heat or for conversion to value added products, with respect to the holistic assessment of the value chain for a softwood biorefinery. The value chain analysis considers options with respect to technology location to either capitalise on waste heat from a power station or to minimise minimises transport cost with alternate technology configurations in the context of the technology configuration options. The implications of these results will be discussed in the context of the needs of biorefinery value chain modelling toward a circular bioeconomy configuration.

  1. Trokanas N, Bussemaker M, Day K, Drage G, Cecelja F. (2015) 'VCAP: A Software Platform for the Assessment of Biorefinery Value Chains'. Salt Lake City, UA, USA: 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting
  2. Huang HJ, Ramaswamy S, Al-Dajani W, Tschirner U, Cairncross RA. Effect of biomass species and plant size on cellulosic ethanol: A comparative process and economic analysis. Biomass and Bioenergy. 2009;33(2):234-246. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2008.05.007.
  3. Klein-Marcuschamer D, Simmons BA, Blanch H. Techno-economi analysis of a lignocellulosic ethanol biorefinery with ionic liquid pre-treatment. Biofuel Bioprod and Bioref. 2011;5:562-569.

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