(380b) Sustainable Processing of Water Hyacinth Through a Distributed Biorefinery System

Ponce-Ortega, J. M., Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo
Serna-González, M., Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo

Sustainable Processing of Water Hyacinth through a Distributed
Biorefinery System

José Ezequiel
Santibañez-Aguilar,1 J. Betzabe González-Campos,1 José
María Ponce-Ortega,1 Medardo Serna-González1, and Mahmoud
M. El-Halwagi2, 3

1Chemical Engineering Department, Universidad Michocana
de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México, 58060

2Chemical Engineering Department, Texas A&M
University, College Station, TX, USA, 77843

3Adjunct Faculty at the Chemical and Materials
Engineering Department, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Water hyacinth is a major nuisance of water bodies. In
addition to blocking pathways, this plant quickly consumes the available
nutrients in the water as well as dissolved oxygen thereby affecting the
aquatic life in the water bodies as well as human activities such as fishing.
To eliminate this plant from the water bodies, several techniques have been
implemented (including chemical, physical and mechanical elimination techniques,
many of them with severe environmental consequences). Much more work is needed
to address this problem because the very high growth rate of water hyacinth. Recently,
several papers have reported the possible use of water hyacinth as feedstock to
produce biofuels, compost, chemical products, green manure, and paper, among
others. In this regard, this paper presents an economical and environmentally sustainable
alternative to address this problem, where water hyacinth is used as a raw
material to produce a set of products as well as clean water (see Figure 1). Since the water hyacinth is
geographically located in a given region, a distributed processing system is
required considering the installation of both preprocessing and central
facilities to take advantages of the economies of scale. In this work the
objective is to present a mathematical programming formulation to address the
optimal design of distributed biorefinery systems of water hyacinth according
to economic and environmental criteria. The proposed model is based on the superstructure
shown in Figure 2 and it takes into account a set of water bodies as sources of
water hyacinth for biomass and water production. The biomass can be processed
using different technologies to obtain several products, which can be sent to
the available markets. On the other hand, the water extracted from water
hyacinth can be treated to separate the pollutants (because the roots of water
hyacinth absorb several pollutants helping this way to clean the water bodies)
and to obtain clean water. The proposed model is applied to a case study in the
central part of Mexico, which is a region with several lakes highly congested with
water hyacinth. The results show that water hyacinth elimination
can be economically attractive when the distributed treatment system proposed
in this paper is considered.

Figure 1. Schematic representation for the addressed problem.

Figure 2. Proposed superstructure for the sustainable use of water hyacinth.