Original Paper

Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 931-944

First online:

Modeling and optimization of a bioethanol production facility

  • Kerron J. GabrielAffiliated withThe Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • , Mahmoud M. El-HalwagiAffiliated withThe Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M UniversityAdjunct Faculty at the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department, King Abdulaziz University Email author 

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Abstract

The overall objective of this study is to identify the optimal bioethanol production plant capacity, configuration, and operating conditions, based on currently available technology for all the processing sections involved. To effect this study, a systematic method is utilized which involves the development of a process flow-sheet and superstructure for the overall technology selection. It also includes simulation as well as mathematical model development for each processing step. The optimality of each process pathway is determined via economic analysis. The developed optimization model also incorporates various biomass feedstocks as well as realistic upper and lower limit equipment sizes thereby ensuring pragmatism of the work. For this study, the criterion for optimization is minimum ethanol price. The secondary objective of this study attempts to mathematically model the seasonal variation in availability of biomass feedstock. This sub-model is incorporated into the overall model and economic evaluations done to determine the minimum ethanol selling price and optimal plant capacity.

Keywords

Biofuels Biomass Optimization Economics Sustainability