Understanding cost drivers and economic potential of two variants of ionic liquid pretreatment for cellulosic biofuel production

Konda, NVSN Murthy, Shi, Jian, Singh, Seema, Blanch, Harvey W., Simmons, Blake A. and Klein-Marcuschamer, Daniel (2014) Understanding cost drivers and economic potential of two variants of ionic liquid pretreatment for cellulosic biofuel production. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 7 86: 1-11. doi:10.1186/1754-6834-7-86


Author Konda, NVSN Murthy
Shi, Jian
Singh, Seema
Blanch, Harvey W.
Simmons, Blake A.
Klein-Marcuschamer, Daniel
Title Understanding cost drivers and economic potential of two variants of ionic liquid pretreatment for cellulosic biofuel production
Journal name Biotechnology for Biofuels   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1754-6834
Publication date 2014-06-07
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1754-6834-7-86
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 86
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication London United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Ionic liquid (IL) pretreatment could enable an economically viable route to produce biofuels by providing efficient means to extract sugars and lignin from lignocellulosic biomass. However, to realize this, novel IL-based processes need to be developed in order to minimize the overall production costs and accelerate commercial viability. In this study, two variants of IL-based processes are considered: one based on complete removal of the IL prior to hydrolysis using a water-wash (WW) step and the other based on a "one-pot" (OP) process that does not require IL removal prior to saccharification. Detailed techno-economic analysis (TEA) of these two routes was carried out to understand the cost drivers, economic potential (minimum ethanol selling price, MESP), and relative merits and challenges of each route.

Results: At high biomass loading (50%), both routes exhibited comparable economic performance with an MESP of $6.3/gal. With the possible advances identified (reduced water or acid/base consumption, improved conversion in pretreatment, and lignin valorization), the MESP could be reduced to around $3/gal ($3.2 in the WW route and $2.8 in the OP route).

Conclusions: It was found that, to be competitive at industrial scale, lowered cost of ILs used and higher biomass loadings (50%) are essential for both routes, and in particular for the OP route. Overall, while the economic potential of both routes appears to be comparable at higher biomass loadings, the OP route showed the benefit of lower water consumption at the plant level, an important cost and sustainability consideration for biorefineries.
Keyword Lignocellulosic biofuels
Ionic liquid pretreatment
Techno-economic analysis
One-pot process
Lignin valorization
Process modeling
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Chemical Engineering Publications
Official 2015 Collection
 
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