(488e) Biomass Utilisation Network Life-Cycle Optimisation for the Satisfaction of Energy, Fuels and Chemicals in the European Union | AIChE

(488e) Biomass Utilisation Network Life-Cycle Optimisation for the Satisfaction of Energy, Fuels and Chemicals in the European Union


Calvo-Serrano, R. - Presenter, Imperial College London
Pozo Fernández, C., Imperial College London
Galán Martín, Á., Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Guo, M., Imperial College London
Guillén-Gosálbez, G., Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
The utilisation of biomass resources is one of the most promising renewable alternatives to satisfy several of our current needs. In particular, several crops and vegetal residues have demonstrated their capacity to produce more sustainable alternatives to conventional demands such as electric power, fuels and chemicals through a wide range of conversion technologies.

The numerous potential biomass production and processing strategies, however, ultimately complicate the clear identification of optimal biomass utilisation strategies, each strategy presenting a particular economic and environmental performance to be evaluated and compared with other strategies. Furthermore, the identification of optimal biomass utilisation strategies is also hindered by the local availability limitations of particular biomass resources or by specific energy, fuel and product demands.

Under this scenario, we present an optimisation approach based on a biomass-conversion network combined with local biomass availability limitations and demand constraints. In particular, the considered network involves several cultivated crops and residual biomass types to be used in more than 200 biomass-conversion technologies including both mature and promising pre-treatments, chemical, bio-chemical and thermal conversion processes. In addition to economic factors, the proposed optimisation approach also accounts for the life cycle environmental performance of the network, taking into account several environmental criteria to assess and the full sustainability of the optimal biomass utilisation strategies identified.

This approach is here applied to the European Union case study, aiming to identify the best biomass resources and conversion routes to satisfy the demands of electricity, fuels for the transport sector and ethylene using locally produced biomass resources.

The identified optimal utilisation strategies clearly indicate the potential of energy crops combined with carbon capture bio-energy production technologies as well as the combined use of different biomass resources for the production of bio-ethanol blends to satisfy fuel requirements, while the ethylene demand is fully satisfied with conventional fossil production routes. Furthermore, the results obtained determine the insufficiency of locally produced biomass resources to cover the combined demand of electricity, transport fuels and ethylene in the European Union.

Overall, the presented approach demonstrates its capacity to assist decision and policy makers in the development of fully sustainable biomass utilisation strategies for a particular set of regional limitations.