(226d) Membrane Separations As "Lever" Points in Biomass-Based Processes
AIChE Annual Meeting
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 10:00am to 10:30am
From a technical perspective, sustainability is a second law of thermodynamics analysis that has become synonymous with development of non-fossil fuel energy carriers. In that broad milieu, harvesting photons into biomass and converting these into different chemical forms has been a "grand challenge" for many decades. The challenge is having a "process make sense" from both an economic and life-cycle (environmental) perspective (the latter being where the second law usually shows up). I will illustrate how membrane-based separations can be "enabling" for potentially sustainable processes within both the algal and lignocellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals framework. Useful membrane materials already exist for some applications, while optimum material properties and module designs are needed for others. Examples of techno-economic analysis of algal biomass processes will illustrate how membrane separations became a "lever" point for a different idea (for the appropriate species).