(413d) Multidisciplinary Approach In Developing Region Specific Models for Sustainable Biorefining

Badurdeen, F. - Presenter, University of Kentucky

Use of foreign fossil fuel for transportation and producing energy has led to energy dependence and growing environmental concerns. Among the various choices of renewable energy resources, biomass intrigues many researchers due to its widespread availability, cost effectiveness and its applicability as a sustainable energy source. Large scale biomass production and improved manufacturing techniques are some of the major areas where researchers are working on. However, because of high variations in the availability of biomass from one region to another there is a necessity to develop region specific economic models for biorefining. Developing economic models requires a multidisciplinary approach as the variation in biomass results in significant change in collection, storage techniques, supply and processing. This presentation aims to show how different disciplines of engineering and sciences can be combined to develop a region specific economic model for sustainable biorefinery based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), supply chain optimization and process systems engineering. The Jackson Purchase in western Kentucky is the region where this model will be applied first. The Jackson Purchase region is not only rich in coal and biomass but also has a large number of poultry farms. Hence poultry litter can be a potential feedstock for integrated biorefinery in this region. Forest residue, corn stover and chicken litter are some of the feedstocks that are considered in this model for producing liquid transportation fuels. However, the distribution of lignocellulosic biomass in the country is very uneven and the first challenge is to locate the biomass. GIS is a technique by which biomass in a region can be located and by coupling it with supply chain optimization, location of potential biorefinery can be suggested. ILOG OPL is the tool used for optimizing the transportation cost of biomass from supply points to the potential biorefineries. Process systems engineering can be used to develop and optimize the processes. Aspen plus V-7.2 process engineering suite is the process simulation software used for this purpose. Gasification is a proven thermochemical process that is optimized in this model to produce synthesis gas and liquid hydrocarbons from forest residue and chicken litter. Also, a biochemical process is optimized in which corn stover is used to produce ethanol which can be marketed as transportation fuel. This model also looks into costs associated with storage and preprocessing of biomass and chicken litter. Detailed ash analysis will also be done in order to suggest most environmentally friendly conversion techniques among the various available choices. Finally, in future all the above optimized models will be combined to estimate the total production cost of various marketable products from different locally available feedstocks. The results, thus, obtained from these models will not only determine the location and number of biorefineries required to sustain a given region, but will also estimate the adequate monetary investment on sustainable biorefining required for that specific region.