The valorization of scarce renewable resources calls for new, advanced process technologies. The optimal route in the long run will be to encourage benefiting first from the value chain of the biomass constituents and produce fuel only from the residues or from an entirely different feedstock – not from the food chain nor the traditional green industry.
Bio-based raw material brings new challenges to engineering of a production plant. The natural raw material varies in composition and does not usually fulfill commonly known specifications. The biomass quantities to be processed are immense, hence necessitating sustainability and rationalization also in harvesting and logistics. The raw material is often exposed to microbial attack requiring special attention to the sanitization of the process units. The constituents in feedstocks differ in composition and concentration. Additionally, the trace components which are often even difficult to analyze, may in the long run pop up in unexpected parts of the process and may cause severe disturbances in the production.
Advanced process modeling is a necessity to develop and integrate bio refinery processes while it is challenging due to the lacking of property data of the substances. Therefore extensive testing of unit operations and unit processes combined with modeling gives the reliable base for the process design. Also, the compatibility of all products with end user requirements or practical disposal methods must be assured.
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