(731b) A Wiki-Based Platform for Technoeconomic Analysis of Lignocellulosic Ethanol Biorefineries
Biofuels, and ethanol in particular, have been the target of both misguided criticism and blind fervor. While the environmental and economic performance of biofuels is currently debated, the scientific community continues to research technological advances toward the commercialization of renewable transportation fuels from non-food resources. The technical and economic performance of these advanced biofuel production processes must be repeatedly evaluated to determine their potential. To make different analyses comparable, we have constructed the first open, transparent, and collaborative process model of a lignocellulosic ethanol biorefinery. The model has been deposited on a public wiki and is available free of charge for non-commercial use. All of the assumptions made in the various unit operations have been described on the wiki, and experts in different areas of the process can discuss them and suggest changes as experimental data are gathered and incorporated into the model. We expect that, with the input of the biofuels scientific and professional community, this tool will help accelerate research on the environmental, energetic, carbon footprint, and economic potential of lignocellulosic ethanol.