(35a) Techno-Economic and Life Cycle Analysis of Chemical Production from Biomass Feedstocks

Authors: 
Athaley, A., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Ierapetritou, M., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Annam, P., Rutgers University
Saha, B., University of Delaware
Techno-economic and Life Cycle Analysis of Chemical Production from Biomass Feedstocks

Abhay Athaley1, Praneeth Annam1, Basudeb Saha2, Marianthi Ierapetritou1

1 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey

2.Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation & Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware

This work focuses on the techno-economic analysis and life cycle analysis on the production of chemicals from lignocellulose feedstocks including three types of hydrolysis of lignocellulose to produce sugar mixtures to convert to furan derivatives and the production of p-Xylene. The development of efficient and economically sustainable routes for biobased chemical production has raised a lot of interest especially for the platform chemicals such as hydromethylfurfural (HMF), furfural, levulinic acid, etc.1,2 The aforementioned chemicals can be produced from glucose or xylose solutions. Different type of hydrolysis is used to produce sugar mixtures such as enzymatic hydrolysis, thermo-chemical hydrolysis etc.3,4,5 It is found that it is more economically and environmentally attractive to manufacture HMF and furfural from C5 and C6 mixtures that are produced from hydrolysis of 2nd generation (lignocellulosic) biomass.6,7

The acceptance of bio-products in the market place depends on their competitiveness compared with petroleum-based products not only in terms of economics but also in terms of process sustainability8. In our previous work we evaluated the economics and environmental impacts of bio-products such as p-Xylene9-11; however this study compares different hydrolysis processes and the integrated flowsheet to produce p-Xylene. This is significant since different hydrolysis processes produce different mixtures of C5 and C6. Present day, water and energy systems are interconnected with each other- water-carbon-energy nexus. Hence life cycle analysis is also carried out in this study to check the competitiveness of the above process in terms of sustainability.

This work uses techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment to design and evaluate the production alternatives. The detailed process flowsheet is developed and simulated using Aspen Plus.12Three different hydrolysis steps are used to produce sugar mixtures: 1) Dilute Acid Hydrolysis 2) Concentrated Acid Hydrolysis and 3) Hydrolysis of Biomass using Molten Salt Hydrates (add references to each one). At the next stage heat integration is carried out and economic analysis is done. Also sensitivity analysis is carried out to compare the cost of p-Xylene with fluctuating cost of raw materials and to compare the cost of p-Xylene when HMF is considered as by-product to produce different chemicals. It is seen that utility cost is directly related to the solvent requirement and thus related to price of p-Xylene and also the cost of p-Xylene increases when the amount of HMF considered as by-product increases. Finally, life cycle analysis is carried out to check for process sustainability with respect to carbon production and water consumption. High requirement of water is needed for the process and thus sustainability related to water consumption is also presented.

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