Economic and environmental analysis of an emerging biorefinery concept as a guide for early technology development
Conference contribution, 2015
This paper presents a biorefinery concept based on emerging conversion processes by which forestry residues and micro-algae are converted into an array of bulk and specialty chemicals. Due to the early development status of the individual processes and conversion routes investigated for the concept, not only is there a lack of fundamental process data, but even the spectrum of products to be obtained from the bioconversion processes is currently unknown. This paper elaborates on the opportunities and challenges associated with linking technology development to systems analysis for a process at a very early development stage, with examples from the biorefinery project described above. Examples of key assumptions for the system studied will be presented. Furthermore, a reasonable size for the plant will be proposed and the feasibility of the biorefinery will be evaluated based on general mass balances and techno-economic estimations for the system and a discussion about environmental impacts.