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Isobutanol from glycerine – A techno-economic evaluation of a new biofuel production process


  • Bauer, Fredric
  • Hulteberg, Christian


The paper presents a new thermochemical process for the production of isobutanol, which is an excellent biobased gasoline blendstock. The main feedstock for the process is glycerine, obtained as a byproduct in biodiesel production, being used together with methanol. The process was modeled in Aspen Plus. The process design is characterized by a high level of process integration, pinch analysis being used to optimize the process from the start. A techno-economic evaluation of the process, both in a stand-alone plant and in a plant integrated with an existing petro-refinery was conducted, the estimates for the production cost of isobutanol obtained being 892$/m3 for a refinery-integrated case and 1017$/m3 for a stand-alone case. A sensitivity analysis using Monte Carlo methodology showed the production cost estimates to be highly robust. Use of isobutanol rather than fossil gasoline was found to result in 53% reduction in GHG emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauer, Fredric & Hulteberg, Christian, 2014. "Isobutanol from glycerine – A techno-economic evaluation of a new biofuel production process," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 261-268.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:122:y:2014:i:c:p:261-268
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.02.037

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Srirangan, Kajan & Akawi, Lamees & Moo-Young, Murray & Chou, C. Perry, 2012. "Towards sustainable production of clean energy carriers from biomass resources," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 172-186.
    2. Taylor, Gail, 2008. "Biofuels and the biorefinery concept," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4406-4409, December.
    3. Irimescu, Adrian, 2012. "Performance and fuel conversion efficiency of a spark ignition engine fueled with iso-butanol," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 477-483.
    4. Beatrice, Carlo & Di Blasio, Gabriele & Lazzaro, Maurizio & Cannilla, Catia & Bonura, Giuseppe & Frusteri, Francesco & Asdrubali, Francesco & Baldinelli, Giorgio & Presciutti, Andrea & Fantozzi, Franc, 2013. "Technologies for energetic exploitation of biodiesel chain derived glycerol: Oxy-fuels production by catalytic conversion," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 63-71.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhao, Xin & Yao, Guolin & Tyner, Wallace E., 2016. "Quantifying breakeven price distributions in stochastic techno-economic analysis," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 318-326.
    2. Zhao, Xin & Guolin, Yao & Wallace, Tyner, 2016. "Quantifying Breakeven Price Distributions in Stochastic Techno-Economic Analysis — A Case of Cellulosic Biofuel Production from Fast Pyrolysis and Hydroprocessing Pathway," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235215, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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