(587av) Techno-Economic Analyses of Fast Pyrolysis for Bio-Fuel Production From Wood

Authors: 
Winjobi, O., Michigan Technological University
Zhou, W., Michigan Technological University
Shonnard, D. R., Michigan Technological University



Fast pyrolysis-based biofuels serves as an alternative source of energy that is sustainable and renewable; this thermochemical conversion of biomass involves a quick thermal degradation of biomass at a high temperature of approximately 500OC with a short residence time of less than 1 second in the pyrolysis unit. Bio-oil produced from the fast pyrolysis of biomass, however needs to be further upgraded to remove oxygen constituents in order to be usable as a motor fuel on its own or to be blend with other motor fuels.

This process can be described by building a model in Aspen Plus using data obtained from experiments. Optimization of the process is then carried out using the Aspen Plus model built to enhance the production of bio-fuels from pyrolysis and the economic viability of the process.  Techno-economic analysis was carried out to look at the cost implications of the overall production process from biomass-feed handling, which involves feed reduction and drying, to the final upgrading of bio-oil so that it can be utilized as a motor fuel.

Future research includes environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of the pyrolysis-based biofuels production process using the Aspen Plus simulation model.  The LCA will be a full cradle-to-grave assessment with a focus on greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of total and fossil energy. The process simulation results will provide key LCA inputs for the fast-pyrolysis and catalytic upgrading steps in the wood-based biofuels pathway.