Early-stage decision making approach for the selection of optimally integrated biorefinery processes
Lignocellulosic biorefineries are the best non-petroleum alternatives for a sustainable development. In the biorefinery process design, it is important to implement an algorithm that allows the systematic generation and the evaluation of energy conversion chains and making comparison of different pathways, ranking them according to different performance criteria. To achieve these goals, a methodology has been proposed to systematically define an ordered set of solutions using mixed integer linear programming models with integer cut constraints. In this study, we apply a systematic approach which adopts thermo-environomic optimization together with heat integration to assess the economic performance, environmental impact and energy requirement of several process options. Both sugars and syngas platforms are compared considering multiple products (energy services, valuable chemicals, fuels). A hybrid superstructure of different processes is developed and the heat recovery in the systems is represented using pinch analysis. Different pathways are evaluated and ranked according to different objective functions to understand the best combination of products and the synergies between them. The results of this work provide a set of candidate solutions considering benefit of heat integration between different pathways to obtain energy efficient biorefinery systems with improved process economics and reduced environmental impacts.