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Design of Process Plant for the Production of Formaldehyde and Formic Acid from Lignin

Source: AIChE
  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Annual Meeting
  • Presentation Date:
    November 20, 2014
  • Duration:
    20 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Advanced
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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The production of platform chemicals from biomass is the current focus of chemical research. Platform chemicals are the precursors of many household and industrial products. These chemicals can be converted into several high-value products and materials including resins, paints, plastics, adhesives, solvents, and synthetic fibers. Most platform chemicals are currently derived from fossil fuels. One potential source to replace petroleum as a precursor for platform chemicals is plant biomass. Biomass is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The composition of the component of biomass suggests that it could also be utilized in the production of platform chemicals. Most bio-refinery research has focused on converting cellulose and hemicellulose into ethanol. However, lignin, which constitutes 15-25% of plant biomass, is considered a waste product in bio-refineries. In this project, the feasibility of utilizing lignin for the production of formaldehyde and formic acid is considered. The Douglas hierarchy is utilized to develop process flowsheets for making these products from lignin. Several simulations are conducted in the process simulator ASPENPlus to study the technical as well as economic viability of these processes.
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