(380a) Multidisciplinary Optimization Model for Region Specific Sustainable Biorefining | AIChE

(380a) Multidisciplinary Optimization Model for Region Specific Sustainable Biorefining


Badurdeen, D. F., University of Kentucky
Amundson, J., University of Kentucky
Faulkner, W., University of Kentucky

Biofuels are a promising alternative to the fossil based fuels, upon which we have become dependent to supply our energy needs. There are many ways in which biomass can be converted into useful products. Integrated biorefining is a possibility which combines a slate of processes involving various feedstock to produce transportation fuel, electric power and other useful chemical products. Widespread availability, varying feedstock and specific regional conditions makes it challenging to develop an optimization model that can be applied to any region to estimate the overall economics of the process. Based on the literature and our previous experiments it is clear that a multidisciplinary approach is required to deal with the above challenge. This contribution will illustrate a novel approach to develop a region specific optimization tool which links various aspects of the biofuel supply chain like transportation, storage, processing, distribution and environmental effects. This contribution will show how various small-scale optimization models can be combined, resulting in a complete, multivariable economic optimization model. For this model, literature data sources as well as mapping and spatial modeling data are used to locate biomass sources in a given geographic region. Based on the source of biomass and available road network, transportation costs are optimized using ILOG-OPL software. The results can be used to determine a suitable location for potential biorefineries in any given region. Processing and capital costs are other key factors in determining overall economics for biorefining and hence demands a detailed process optimization model.

            A multi feedstock process optimization model including both preprocessing and conversion of biomass into biofuels and products will be described in this contribution. The process optimization model to be described consists of two major processes to produce transportation fuel and power as end products. This model  has the capability of including various types of biomass such as dedicated energy crops, crop residues and animal wastes as feedstock. Aspen Plus V-7.3 is the software package used for this purpose. Multiple process and transportation optimization models are then interfaced using Visual Basic in order to provide an economic assessment for biorefining in a region. This model will be validated using the Jackson Purchase region of Western Kentucky, which is not only rich in coal, lignocellulosic biomass and crop residue but also has large number of poultry farms, as a case study. Finally an optimum location for the proposed biorefinery, ratio of combined feedstock and profitability can be determined based on the output of this model. The model developed will have an ability to show how multiple parameters in various stages of supply chain effects the overall economic of the process. This innovative linking of various optimization models will help develop a large scale multivariable model for biorefining which will include all possible feedstocks for a given region and provide the option to choose from various available processes in the model based on the cost, demand and environmental regulations in a region. The model can not only be used by investors as a tool to estimate the potential profitability of biorefining in a region but will allow any locale to attain the distant goal of sustainability.