(54f) Technoeconomic and Strategic Insights on Cellulosic Biofuel Production with Ionic Liquid Pretreatment | AIChE

(54f) Technoeconomic and Strategic Insights on Cellulosic Biofuel Production with Ionic Liquid Pretreatment


Konda, N. V. S. N. M. - Presenter, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Singh, S., Joint BioEnergy Institute
Sun, J., Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Neupane, B., University of Maine
Simmons, B., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Scown, C. D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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 .


  1. Konda et al. (2014). Understanding cost drivers and economic potential of two variants of ionic liquid pretreatment for cellulosic biofuel production. Biotechnology for Biofuels 7: 86.
  2. Konda et al. (2015). Towards a cost-competitive ionic liquid based pretreatment: Insights from technoeconomic analysis. AIChE Annual Meeting, November 2015, Salt Lake City, UT. 
  3. Sun et al. (2016) CO2 enabled process integration for the production of cellulosic ethanol using bionic liquids." Energy & Environmental Science 9.9: 2822-2834.
  4. Xu et al. (2016) Transforming biomass conversion with ionic liquids: process intensification and the development of a high-gravity, one-pot process for the production of cellulosic ethanol." Energy & Environmental Science 9.3: 1042-1049.