(701c) Evaluating the Economic Feasibility of Valorizing Lignocellulosic Biomass through Electrochemical Hydrogenation (Invited)
This talk presents a framework for evaluating the economic feasibility of ECH processes that follow simple, yet generalizable electrochemical pathways involving the parallel faradaic reactions that generate desirable and undesirable products. Annualized costs present a simplified economic metric that allows for direct calculation of a minimum selling price for a desired product, while simultaneously allowing detailed descriptions of the existing technological tradeoffs. This framework is validated against the U.S. Department of Energy targets for hydrogen production from water electrolysis to ensure accuracy of both overall model results and estimated component contributions . As a commonly found moiety in lignin-based compounds and a valuable commodity chemical respectively, guaiacol hydrogenolysis to phenol is chosen as a platform from which to present sensitivity of the system cost to materials properties. More generally, this work aims to identify component performance targets for cost-competitive ECH, to highlight key technical challenges, and to inform future research directions. These materials targets were then tested for feasibility in a continuous electrolysis cell to establish experimental understanding of the research challenges.
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