(666a) Assessment of Economic Potential of Furfural Platform | AIChE

(666a) Assessment of Economic Potential of Furfural Platform


Gunukula, S. - Presenter, University of Maine
Pendse, H. P., University of Maine
DeSisto, W. J., University of Maine
Wheeler, M. C., University of maine
Furfural is identified as a potential bio-based building block by the department of energy. A suit of more than 80 chemicals that can be directly and indirectly derived from furfural have been identified. It is a daunting task to evaluate the economic potential of all of these furfural transformations. We, therefore, qualitatively screened and selected following seven chemicals that have near-term commercial potential: tetrahydrofuran (THF), tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol (THFA), furfuryl alcohol (FA), maleic anhydride (MA), 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), levulinic acid (LA), and 1,5-pentanediol (PDO). The minimum selling price (MSP) of furfural produced via acid dehydration of C5 sugar and the seven selected potential furfural derivatives were determined. The MSP of furfural produced in a plant with a capacity of 2000 metric ton per day of bone dry wood was estimated at $0. 78 per kg. This estimation indicates that the plant size of platform chemical production and the MSP are comparable to the proposed feasible size of lignocellulosic based biofuel production plant and the market price of super commodity chemicals, respectively. The estimated MSP ($/kg) of THF, THFA, FA, MA, MTHF, LA, and PDO are 1.47, 1.1, 0.94, 1.3, 1.54, 1.47, 1.28, respectively. The comparison of calculated MSP of furfural derivatives against the market prices has shown that all analyzed production processes are economically viable except the conversion of furfural to levulinic acid. The comparison of economic and modeling analysis of analyzed production pathways of furfural derivatives enable us to determine general rules of thumb necessary to screen early stage transformations of potential bio-based building blocks to various secondary commodity chemicals.