(24a) Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis for Retrofitting a Biorefinery | AIChE

(24a) Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis for Retrofitting a Biorefinery


One important aspect of future green technologies includes biorefining of renewable feedstocks to make energy, fuels, chemicals, and other useful products. One of the major challenges associated with the development of biorefineries is the large capital cost and risk associated with building a production plant for a technology that has not previously been proven on a commercial scale. Retrofitting existing process plants can serve to alleviate these risks. Specifically, the modification of existing first generation biofuel processes, or integrating new technologies into pulp and paper mills can be attractive options for hedging potential risk and lowering cost. However, in the implementation of the retrofit, process safety issues related to feedstock handling, uncharacterized waste streams, combustible dust, and design limitations from existing equipment can become a serious issue. Herein, the process safety issues associated with retrofitting an existing plant for biorefining are addressed. Examples of potential hazards associated with biorefining processes with new feedstocks, chemistries, and processing units are discussed as well as recommendations for process hazard assessment methodologies related to retrofitting existing process plants for biorefining.