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Techno-economic evaluation of thermo-chemical biomass-to-ethanol

  • He, Jie
  • Zhang, Wennan
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    Bio-ethanol has received considerable attention as a basic chemical and fuel additive. Bio-ethanol is presently produced from sugar/starch materials, but can also be produced from lignocellulosic biomass via hydrolysis-fermentation route or thermo-chemical route. In terms of thermo-chemical route, a few pilot plants ranging from 0.3 to 67Â MW have been built and operated for alcohols synthesis. However, commercial success has not been found. In order to realize cost-competitive commercial ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass through thermo-chemical pathway, a techno-economic analysis needs to be done. In this paper, a thermo-chemical process is designed, simulated and optimized mainly with ASPEN Plus. The techno-economic assessment is made in terms of ethanol yield, synthesis selectivity, carbon and CO conversion efficiencies, and ethanol production cost. Calculated results show that major contributions to the production cost are from biomass feedstock and syngas cleaning. A biomass-to-ethanol plant should be built around 200Â MW. Cost-competitive ethanol production can be realized with efficient equipments, optimized operation, cost-effective syngas cleaning technology, inexpensive raw material with low pretreatment cost, high performance catalysts, off-gas and methanol recycling, optimal systematic configuration and heat integration, and high value byproduct.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Applied Energy.

    Volume (Year): 88 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 1224-1232

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:88:y:2011:i:4:p:1224-1232
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    1. Qiu, Huanguang & Huang, Jikun & Yang, Jun & Rozelle, Scott & Zhang, Yuhua & Zhang, Yahui & Zhang, Yanli, 2010. "Bioethanol development in China and the potential impacts on its agricultural economy," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 76-83, January.
    2. Balat, Mustafa & Balat, Havva, 2009. "Recent trends in global production and utilization of bio-ethanol fuel," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(11), pages 2273-2282, November.
    3. Eriksson, Gunnar & Kjellström, Björn, 2010. "Assessment of combined heat and power (CHP) integrated with wood-based ethanol production," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 3632-3641, December.
    4. Yu, Suiran & Tao, Jing, 2009. "Economic, energy and environmental evaluations of biomass-based fuel ethanol projects based on life cycle assessment and simulation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(Supplemen), pages S178-S188, November.
    5. Murphy, J.D. & McCarthy, K., 2005. "Ethanol production from energy crops and wastes for use as a transport fuel in Ireland," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 148-166, October.
    6. Zheng, Yi & Pan, Zhongli & Zhang, Ruihong & Wang, Donghai, 2009. "Enzymatic saccharification of dilute acid pretreated saline crops for fermentable sugar production," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(11), pages 2459-2465, November.
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