(625i) Process Design and Simulation of Methanol and Olefins Production from Biomass

Authors: 
Lousada, B., Auburn University
Li, P., Auburn University
Yuan, Z., Auburn University
Eden, M. R., Auburn University

As a result of increasing environmental concerns and the depletion of petroleum resources, the search for renewable alternatives is an important global topic. Methanol produced from biomass could be an important intermediate for liquid transportation fuels and value-added chemicals. In this work, the production of methanol and olefins is investigated via process simulation in Aspen Plus. Two gasification routes, namely, direct gasification and indirect gasification, are used for syngas production. The tar produced in the process can be converted via steam reforming, partial oxidation, or auto-thermal reforming. After cleanup and treatment, the syngas is converted to methanol which will be further converted to high value olefins such as ethylene, propylene and butene via the methanol to olefins (MTO) or methanol to propylene (MTP) processes. First, for a given feedstock type and supply/availability, we compare the economics of different conversion routes. Second, for a fixed production capacity, we investigate the feedstock requirements of each conversion route. Third, we evaluate the economic performance of the conversion processes under different scenarios and product portfolios. Finally, the environmental impacts associated with each conversion route are compared.