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(587am) Process Optimization Models Supporting Multidisciplinary Framework for Sustainable Biorefining

Authors: 
Sukumara, S., University of Kentucky
Seay, J. R., University of Kentucky



Present concerns about the depleting resources has directed the focus of modern research towards producing biofuels. This has paved the way for innovative production techniques and contributing to the improvements in existing process. The greatest concern with the various emerging processes are on its long term applicability as a sustainable source of energy and fuel. This poster aims to demonstrate the development of various process optimization models, which can be simultaneously combined with the overall optimization model. Various tools of Aspen Tech® are used for this purpose; the major one being Aspen Plus® Process Modeling V-7.3. Dealing with multiple non-conventional feedstock has always raised challenges while scaling up the ongoing research to a large scale and assessing its various impacts. Detailed process simulation models were created for both thermochemical and biochemical conversion technologies with locally available biomass as feedstock. The developed model captures various stages of the overall process like, mechanical treatment, chemical pretreatment, main conversion technique and product separation. Major economic and environmental results like variable operating cost, capital investment, maintenance cost and amount of effluents generated will be shared to the overall optimization model. Parallel sharing of data through the Visual Basic® interface explores the capability of sharing the data among the models and justifies the possibility of automation in future. This helps to analyze how the existing and emerging conversion techniques can be modeled and compared, in order to study its upstream and downstream impacts. This analysis will be subsequently appraised for its environmental and societal impact, capturing all possible aspects of sustainability. The resulting model is unique and informative in assisting policy makers and various stakeholders for evaluating sustainability of biofuels in any given region. To illustrate its applicability, generalizability and to examine the overall economic, environmental and societal impact, a case study is performed in the Jackson Purchase Region in Western Kentucky.