(86d) A Systematic Framework to Determine Optimal Economic Performance of Biorefineries

Sammons, Jr., N. E., Intramicron Inc.
Yuan, W., Auburn University
Eden, M. R., Auburn University
Aksoy, B., Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering
Cullinan, H. T., Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering

The integrated biorefinery has the opportunity to provide a strong, self-dependent, sustainable alternative for the production of bulk and fine chemicals, e.g. polymers, fiber composites and pharmaceuticals as well as energy, liquid fuels and hydrogen. Although most of the fundamental processing steps involved in biorefining are well-known, there is a need for a multidisciplinary methodology capable of evaluating the integrated processes in order to identify the optimal set of products and the best route for producing them. A myriad of products and production pathways are possible in this emerging field of biorefining, and the production path with maximum value and minimum environmental impact cannot be determined on heuristics alone. The complexity of the product allocation problem for such processing facilities demands a process systems engineering strategy utilizing process integration and optimization to ensure a targeted approach and serve as an interface between simulation work and experimental efforts. A multidisciplinary framework is needed to determine the most optimal route based on measures of economic and environmental performance. Top candidates in economic and environmental performance are subject to process integration techniques in order to minimize mass and energy usage, and these integrated biorefineries are once again analyzed for optimal performance through mathematical optimization. This framework is applied to various case studies in order to illustrate the flexibility and robustness of the methodology in solving the biomass allocation problem for optimal economic performance and reduced environmental impact.


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