Optimal process design for thermochemical production of fuels from biomass

Transport applications are a major global source of greenhouse gas emissions and the production of fuels that are renewable and neutral in CO2 is an important issue in chemical process research and development. Contrary to the biological routes that produce bioethanol and -diesel on industrial scale through fermentation or esterification, 2nd generation biofuels obtained through thermochemical processing of lignocellulosic and waste biomass by means of gasification and fuel reforming are expected to be truly sustainable since high conversion efficiencies and a decidedly positive environmental balance are achieved. The poster addresses the optimal design of such thermochemical fuel production processes with respect to its environomic (energetic, economic and environmental) performance. Thereby, the challenge is to develop design methodologies that allow the identification of the most promising conversion routes in a specific environmental and economical context. Thermo-economic process modelling and integration techniques are coupled with a multi-objective optimisation algorithm to target the best process technology and operating conditions for the trigeneration of fuels, heat and power. The approach is demonstrated on the production of synthetic natural gas from wood considering different gasification technologies and the possibility to increase the fuel yield from biomass and electrical power by integrating an electrolyser in the system.

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