(488c) Biomass-Based Production of Benzene, Toluene, and Xylenes Via Methanol: Process Synthesis and Deterministic Global Optimization

Authors: 
Niziolek, A. M., Princeton University
Onel, O., Princeton University
Guzman, Y. A., Princeton University
Floudas, C. A., Texas A&M University
The pursuit towards an environmentally sustainable energy economy requires the development of economically competitive renewable processes, as discussed in a recent perspective article on multi-scale systems engineering for energy and the environment. [1] Of particular interest are biomass-based processes, which have the potential to significantly reduce well-to-wheel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. [2] Recent emphasis from academia, industry, and government agencies has solely focused on the production of electricity and liquid transportation fuels from biomass â?? such energy processes using single and hybrid feedstocks are reviewed in [3]. It is remarkable that very few studies in the literature have investigated the technical and economic feasibility of producing high-value aromatics from biomass. [4-6] Aromatics represent a significant portion (one-third) of the market for commodity petrochemicals, and a large portion (approximately 70 percent) of the worldâ??s benzene, toluene, and xylenes supply comes from petroleum naphtha. [6,7] Biomass-based aromatics production additionally offsets import requirements for petrochemicals, crude oil, or naphtha, thus aiding in energy independence objectives set by the U.S. government. [2] Therefore, we propose novel methods of producing aromatics from biomass via methanol.

In this work, we present a comprehensive process synthesis superstructure consisting of several novel, commercial, and/or competing technologies that produce aromatics from biomass via methanol. [2] The optimal processes will be determined using our novel branch-and-bound global optimization framework. [2,9] We quantify the effect that biomass type has on the overall profit of the refinery by investigating forest residues, agricultural residues, and perennial crops as potential feedstocks. [2] Multiple case studies that investigate the effect of biomass moisture content, refinery capacity, and product distribution are discussed. The major topological decisions, as well as the overall profit of the biomass-based aromatics refinery, are presented.

[1] Floudas, C. A.; Niziolek, A. M.; Onel, O.; Matthews, L. R. Multi-Scale Systems Engineering for Energy and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities. AIChE Journal 2016, 62, 602-623.

[2] Niziolek, A. M.; Onel, O.; Guzman, Y. A.; Floudas, C. A. Biomass-Based Production of Benzene, Toluene, and Xylenes via Methanol: Process Synthesis and Deterministic Global Optimization. Energy & Fuels 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b00619.

[3] Floudas, C. A.; Elia, J. A.; Baliban, R. C. Hybrid and Single Feedstock Energy Processes for Liquid Transportation Fuels. Computers and Chemical Engineering 2012, 41, 24-51.

[4] Lin, Z.; Ierapetritou, M.; Nikolakis, V. Aromatics from Lignocellulosic Biomass: Economic Analysis of the Production of p-Xylene from 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural. AIChE Journal 2013, 59, 2079-2087.

[5] Lin, Z.; Nikolakis, V.; Ierapetritou, M. Alternative approaches for p-xylene production from starch: Techno-economic analysis. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2014, 53, 10688-10699.

[6] Niziolek, A. M.; Onel, O.; Elia, J. A.; Baliban R. C.; Floudas, C. A. Coproduction of Liquid Transportation Fuels and C6_C8 Aromatics from Biomass and Natural Gas. AIChE Journal 2015, 61, 831-856.

[7] de Klerk, A. Fischer-Tropsch Refining; Wiley-VCH Verlag & Co. KgaA: Weinheim 2011.

[8] Meyers, R. A. Handbook of petroleum refining processes, Volume 3; McGraw-Hill New York, 2014.

[9] Niziolek, A. M.; Onel, O.; Floudas, C. A. Production of Benzene, Toluene, and Xylenes from Natural Gas via Methanol: Process Synthesis and Global Optimization. AIChE Journal 2016, 62 (5), 1531 â?? 1556.