(683e) Analysis of Furfural As a Chemical Building Block for Future Biorefineries

Authors: 
Aristizábal, V., Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Moncada, J., Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Gómez, A., Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Cardona, C. A., Universidad Nacional de Colombia

The uncertainty on oil reserves, oil prices as well as the climate change have become in important reasons to search new alternatives to produce valuable chemicals and fuels (Mussatto, Moncada et al. 2013). In this sense, biomass appears as a promising source to produce environmentally friendly biofuels and biobased materials with promising substitution capacity of petrochemical sources. Lignocellulosic biomass  (mainly composed by cellulose (30-45%), hemicellulose (20-35%) and lignin (10-20%)) is generally considered a promising feedstock due to its abundance, its low value and its potential sustainability. Biorefineries from lignocellulosics can be developed in many directions and special attention has been paid to sugar derivatives that can be used as a chemical building block (Moncada, Matallana et al. 2013). This is the case of furfural, which can be used to produce fuels and chemicals. Furfural is produced by hydrolysis and dehydration of xylan contained in lignocellulose. Furfural offers an important and rich source of derivatives that have potential use as biofuel components. Taking this into account, the integrated use of lignocellulosic biomass should be analyzed on a biorefinery concept. Accordingly, this work presents a techno-economic assessment supported by a simulation procedure to obtain jet biofuel from coffee pruning. Coffee pruning has a considerable availability in coffee countries like Colombia. Approximately, 18 tonnes are produced per hectare of coffee. Aspen plus was used as computational tool for evaluate the production of jet biofuel. According to the composition of coffee pruning, the cellulose was used to obtain ethanol while the hemicellulose was used as the source of furfural. In this way, this work develops an analysis of the production of ethanol from glucose and octane from furfural as blend for the formulation of jet biofuel. The evaluation of jet biofuel production was made in two scenarios. In the first scenario was considered the production of ethanol and octane. In the second scenario was considered the integrated production of ethanol and octane and energy using a cogeneration system for the solid waste.

The process to obtain octane is described in three steps: 1) aldol-condensation of furfural with a ketone, 2) mild hydrogenation of aldol products and 3) hydrodeoxygenation to alkanes. The production of ethanol was carried out for a conventional fermentation process with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. the cogeneration system was made by combined cycle. The quality of furfural was measured experimentally by spectrophotometric method that determines the concentration of furan components. The quality of ethanol-octane blend was analyzed studying the physicochemical properties of the jet biofuel such as density, viscosity and freezing point. Besides, the properties of the ethanol-octane blends were compared with the properties of a conventional jet fuel (jet A-1) obtaining a similar behavior for both fuels, therefore, according to this study, it is possible the use of biofuels in the aeronautic industry.

Moncada, J., L. G. Matallana, et al. (2013). "Selection of Process Pathways for Biorefinery Design Using Optimization Tools: A Colombian Case for Conversion of Sugarcane Bagasse to Ethanol, Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), and Energy." Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 52: 4132 - 4145.

Mussatto, S. I., J. Moncada, et al. (2013). "Techno-economic analysis for brewer’s spent grains use on a biorefinery concept: The Brazilian case." Bioresource Technology 148(0): 302-310.

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