(54f) Technoeconomic and Strategic Insights on Cellulosic Biofuel Production with Ionic Liquid Pretreatment
Biomass pretreatment is a key step in the biochemical conversion of cellulosic biomass to biofuels. Some ionic liquids (ILs) are very efficient solvents for biomass pretreatment (1-4). Given the possibility of numerous anions and cations, there is a significant opportunity to design ILs and tunetheir properties to improve sugar yields. Due to the highly-integrated nature of the cellulosic biorefineries, however, the pretreatment process needs to be developed not only to improve sugar yields but also to minimize any negative impacts on the other parts of the biorefinery (including enzymatic hydrolysis, microbial fermentation wastewater treatment, and on-site cogeneration facility to produce steam and electricity). Design of such processes requires understanding of the underlying material & energy balances, mass & heat transfer effects, thermodynamics, and kinetics. To this end, detailed model based technoeconomic analysis (TEA) offers valuable guidance. Our recent work (1-4) highlighted the importance of biorefinery processes with reduced water and energy footprint, and high IL recovery to ensure economic viability. With further advancements, some of the recently developed processes could be cost-competitive, with a minimum selling price of <$4/gal of advanced biofuel. This presentation will discuss TEA driven insights and challenges that must be addressed to realize an economical biomass conversion process at industrial scale .
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