(439b) From Fossils to Bio-Based Economy: A Revolutionary Transformation in Process Industries

Authors: 
Ng, K. S., University of Surrey
Sadhukhan, J., The University of Surrey
Increasing utilisation and dependence on fossil fuels are attributed to the growing global population and soaring energy demand, and led to the global warming and energy security issues. Employing renewable energy sources such as biomass in new or existing systems and improving the performance of the existing facilities through maximising resource utilisation, enhancing energy efficiency and lowering environmental impact are the keys in addressing these issues. Process industries such as energy, chemical, refinery and manufacturing industries are the major consumers of fossil resources and sources of greenhouse gases emission. The replacement of traditional process design approach by a more holistic approach is exigent for the development of sustainable industrial systems and for effectively reducing the energy and emission intensities in the process industries. The transition from fossil fuel technologies to mature commercialisation of biorefinery may require a couple of decades. Hence, the most strategic solution during this transition is to improve the existing facilities through deployment of decarbonisation system, enhancing the system performance through process integration approach, while carrying out intensive research and investigations into biorefinery technology. This paper provides high level discussion on the global issues on energy and the strategic approach during the transition from fossil era to bio-based economy era. Modern process design approaches using various state-of the-art concepts associated with integrated biorefinery systems, decarbonisation strategies such as CO­2 reuse and energy enhancement strategies such as polygeneration, highly relevant to the current context in mitigating environmental impact and meeting the global demand, will be discussed.