(424b) Process Modeling, Simulation and Optimization of Process Intensification in Integrated Biorefineries

Ramaswamy, S., University of Minnesota
Huang, H., University of Minnesota
Lignocellulosic feedstock as a renewable resource for biofuels, bioenergy and value added, renewable bioproducts is gaining increasing attention throughout the world. First generation biofuels from corn and sugar and second generation biofuels from cellulosic biomass are excellent examples of emerging biorefineries. Integrated biorefineries are an emerging concept using thermochemical, biological and biochemical approaches to conversion of the lignocellulosic feedstocks to multiple products including biofuels, bioenergy, biochemicals and value-added renewable bioproducts. Butanol is not only a good drop-in fuels with higher energy density than ethanol, but also a very important chemical.

Butanol can be produced by fermentation of sugars derived from lignocellulosic biomass. However, there are key challenges in butanol biorefineries: (i) severe product (i.e butanol) inhibition due to toxicity to the microorganisms during fermentation, which leads to low butanol yield and productivity, and (ii) expensive downstream processing (product separation and purification). This paper is focused on the process intensification and integration of bioprocessing and separation technologies, i.e., integration of efficient separation process with fermentation for in situ removal of product inhibitor to increase the butanol yield and productivity and lower the production cost. The comparison of energy consumption between different separation approaches is carried out by modeling and analysis of the integrated biorefinery, based on recent research, with process intensification and integration of bioprocessing and separation of products (e.g., Fig 1). Process optimization will also be carried out.