Methodology for the identification of promising integrated biorefineries

Steady increase in global energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and depletion of fossil energy resources, together with increased attention towards sustainable development has prompted researchers to discover economical and environmentally competitive non-petroleum alternatives and biomass is considered to be one of the most promising renewable sources of energy and carbon of this matter to address the aforementioned issues within a biorefinery platform. A biorefinery is an integrated processing facility that converts biomass into transportation fuels, value-added chemicals, heat, and electricity via biochemical and thermochemical conversion routes. Integrated biorefineries are capable of mimicking petroleum refineries via application of advanced process synthesis methods including modeling, simulation, integration and optimization techniques. This thesis presents a comprehensive synthesis methodology for the integration of bioprocessing technologies in biorefineries by addressing techno-economic and environmental sustainability analysis. The proposed systematic design approach combines advanced process modeling approaches, process integration techniques, and multi-objective optimization algorithms to assess the performance of the overall system with respect to economic, environmental, and energetic indicators. The design strategy is applied based on different case studies. Results indicate that multi-product processes can yield significant cost and environmental benefits. Additionally, the integration of biochemical and catalytic processes with thermochemical conversion pathways results in increased carbon efficiency and economic and environmental competitiveness. Synergies between biorefineries and energy system are assessed by integrating industrial plants with a cogeneration system producing biofuels and process heat. In doing so, system efficiency is increased by coupling the proposed cogeneration system with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and power-to-gas technologies to store the renewable intermittent electricity in the form of biofuels. The results exhibit that through system expansion, integrated biorefinery systems allow us to imitate fossil refineries with a large spectrum of bio-based products. This further increases the resource efficiency while offering a promising solution to mitigate CO2 emissions and hence reaching the longer-term decarbonization target set by the Paris Agreement.

Maréchal, François
Viana Ensinas, Adriano
Lausanne, EPFL

 Record created 2019-10-14, last modified 2019-10-14

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