(580b) Design of Lignin-Based Process Plants for Production of Platform Chemicals | AIChE

(580b) Design of Lignin-Based Process Plants for Production of Platform Chemicals


Palanki, D. S. - Presenter, University of South Alabama
Curow, T., University of South Alabama
Hudson, A., University of South Alabama

There is current interest in utilizing biomass as a sustainable, renewable alternative to fossil-based chemistry. It is estimated that in 2025, up to 30% of raw materials for the chemical industry will be produced from biomass. While significant research has been conducted on the production of ethanol fuel from starch-rich components of biomass, current research is focused on lignocellulosic biomass, which is more abundant and relatively cheap compared to starchy biomass.  However, most biorefinery schemes focused on utilizing cellulose and hemicellulose to produce ethanol, leaving lignin as a waste product. Furthermore, the pulp-and-paper industries also generate significant quantities of lignin as a waste product.  In this paper, it is shown how the Douglas hierarchy can be utilized to synthesize a process flow sheet that utilizes lignin as a feed material to produce several different platform chemicals that are used as starting materials for the manufacture of plastics, synthetic fibers, paints, resins, adhesives, solvents, refrigerants, pigments and dyes. Simulations are conducted in ASPEN Plus to determine the material and energy balances of these flow sheets.  A mass and energy balance analysis indicates that these conceptual processes have favorable energetics and has economic potential.