(285f) Reconfigurable Bioenergy Production | AIChE

(285f) Reconfigurable Bioenergy Production


Wang, H. Y. - Presenter, University of Michigan

A flexible technology is proposed for enabling localized biofuel production to fit the uncertain energy demands of the near future. Key characteristics of the present biofuel infrastructure include centralized processing, long-distance transportation (>25mi) of biomass, and a reliance on agricultural crops. An alternative to this model is a system of mobile biofuel processing units, or MPUs. These MPUs would be designed to fit on a standard container and be easily transportable by truck. They could be linked with other MPUs to accomplish a specific task and they would be designed for safe, predictable operation. Early attempt at engineering shall focus on a micro combined heat & power (microCHP) processing unit and a photobioreactor system for high cell density microalgae cultivation. The key unit operations and design principals are outlined along with an initial economic analysis of the operating costs. The results of this research will be used to examine commercial viability and compare lifecycle energy usage and emissions with alternative methods of biofuel production.