Implementation of Organosolv Pretreatment Into a Cellulosic Ethanol Plant, The

Hughes, Alyssa
Neuberge, Neil
Tan, Shuai
In recent years an emphasis has been placed on the research and development of new technologies for the production of fuel and energy alternatives. One alternative is the production of ethanol from biomass. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has constructed a feasible computer simulated model for an industrial ethanol plant that has the cap abilities to produce fuel grade ethanol from corn-stover. Our project aims to optimize the NREL plant model through the implementation of a new pretreatment process. The new process will utilize Organosolv pulping technologies and be able to improve the NREL model. The Organosolv process breaks down the lignin in the feed stock which leads to a more effective hydrolysis process that can result in refined byproducts. The byproducts will have the potential to be sold for a profit instead of being burned as they are in the current model. With less byproduct being burned the size of the required boiler will decrease. Since the boiler block is the most expensive part of the current ethanol plant, decreasing its size will increase efficiency in both the initial startup costs and running costs. By utilizing the Organosolv pretreatment block the minimum selling price of ethanol can be lowered over one dollar a gallon and still obtain the same IRR as the current NREL model.
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