(16a) Techno-Economics of Catalytic Conversion of Ethanol to Chemical Grade n-Butanol and 1-Hexene

Phillips, S. D., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Guo, M., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Ramasamy, K. K., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
A techno-economic analysis of an ethanol to n-butanol process was developed to investigate the feasibility of making chemical grade products that have a premium price relative to transportation fuels. To remove the uncertainties associated with the various processes for making ethanol, this analysis assumed that the ethanol feed stock for the process would be purchased as a commodity chemical at market prices and upgraded to n-butanol which has a significantly higher value as a chemical. Mixed oxide based catalyst developed for this process has demonstrated a 61% one pass ethanol conversion to n-butanol, with some 6- and 8-carbon alcohols (linear and branched). A conceptual process to upgrade the n-hexanol fraction of the co-products to produce chemical grade 1-hexene was developed to improve the minimum butanol selling price (MBSP) – the price that gives a net present value of zero over the life of the project after accounting for all costs and revenues, including a 10% internal rate of return, using a discounted cash flow method. The results of this study will be presented including economic sensitivities to the ethanol feed stock cost, 1-hexene market value, conversion and selectivity to products and co-products, plus other financial assumptions.