(71c) Design and Techno-Economic Analysis for the Lignin Oil Production Process from Lignocellulosic Biomass | AIChE

(71c) Design and Techno-Economic Analysis for the Lignin Oil Production Process from Lignocellulosic Biomass


Xu, Y. - Presenter, North Carolina State University
Park, S., North Carolina State University
Kim, H., North Carolina State University
Ham, C., Daesang
Lignocellulosic biomass is an important feedstock for the biofuel and pulp and paper industry; it is also considered a promising source for producing many other high-value chemical products. Kai et al. (2021) has introduced a novel chemical process using lignocellulosic biomass to produce profitable products such as xylooligosaccharides (prebiotics), xylose, microfiber. In that process, lignin from the biomass (around 20% of the mass) is sent to the CHP plant. However, there is a great potential to improve the plant profitability further. A valuable product, i.e., lignin oil, can be obtained from lignin and is expected to enhance the economic benefit significantly. We have developed such technology to extract lignin oil through isopropyl alcohol without any catalyst. This lignin oil product can be used as a cosmetic additive since it provides good UV protection for human skin. With an increasing cosmetic market, lignin oil will have good business prospects.

However, to commercialize such technology, a process must be developed economimically. This study will develop the plant-scale lignin oil production process, find the best design plan, and analyze the economic performance: (i) A series of lab experiments will test the thermodynamic behavior of lignin oil. (ii) Based on the properties, several plant-scale process designs will be developed, and the process feasibility will be examined with rigorous mass and energy balance in Aspen Plus. (iii) Preliminary economic analyses will be performed for each process design in order to find the best option. (iv) A techno-economic model with discounted cash flow rate of return (DCFROR) calculations is developed for the best design; sensitives to the economic performance will also be discussed.

This work will provide valuable information for the future commercialization study on this technology.

Reference: 1.Lan, K., Xu, Y., Kim, H., Ham, C., Kelley, S.S. and Park, S., 2021. Techno-economic analysis of producing xylo-oligosaccharides and cellulose microfibers from lignocellulosic biomass. Bioresource Technology, 340, p.125726.