Optimal location of biorefineries
Book chapter, 2013
Biorefineries can be built as stand-alone systems or co-located with existing systems such as industrial plants or district heating systems. There are different criteria for selecting a suitable location for a biorefinery, for example closeness to raw material, product markets and heat sinks and sources or existing experiences and know-how. Further, the entire upgrading process from raw material to end products does not necessarily have to be located at the same place. Intermediate products could be produced and transported to other sites for further upgrading. Thus, the suitable location for a biorefinery depends on a trade-off between different parameters. Since biorefineries are not implemented to a large extent today and new technologies are constantly being developed, there is a need for studies that address questions such as how different overall performance parameters (overall efficiency, economic performance and GHG emissions reduction potential) are affected by the choice of location of the different stages in the biomass upgrading process, the pros and cons of different location options and what is of specific importance to consider concerning the location of biorefineries. It is relatively easy to quantify the effect of parameters such as transportation distances for raw materials and products or the degree of heat integration. The effect of other parameters are more difficult to quantify, e.g. experience and know-how concern- ing handling of the raw material, the processes or the products.
This chapter describes different criteria for selecting the location of biorefineries. Examples of biorefinery concepts are presented together with a discussion of the pros and cons of different candidate locations. One important driving force for location of biorefineries which could improve the overall efficiency significantly is the opportunities for heat integration, which will be in special focus in the latter part of this chapter. A methodology for quantifying the possibilities for heat integration within and between different processes is described and an example that illustrates the consequences of different locations with different possibilities for heat integration is presented.