Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 199–212 | Cite as

Design and simulation of an organosolv process for bioethanol production

  • Jesse Kautto
  • Matthew J. Realff
  • Arthur J. Ragauskas
Original Article

Abstract

Organosolv pulping can be used as a pretreatment step in bioethanol production. In addition to ethanol, organosolv pulping allows for the production of a pure lignin product and other co-products. Based on publicly available information, conceptual process design and simulation model were developed for an organosolv process. The simulation model was used to calculate the mass and energy balances and approximate fossil-based carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the process. With a hardwood feed of 2,350 dry metric tons (MT) per day, 459 MT/day (53.9 million gallons per year) of ethanol was produced. This corresponded to a carbohydrate to ethanol conversion of 64 %. The production rates of lignin, furfural, and acetic acid were 310, 6.6, and 30.3 MT/day, respectively. The energy balance indicated that the process was not energy self-sufficient. In addition to bark and organic residues combusted to produce energy, external fuel (natural gas) was needed to cover the steam demand. This was largely due to the energy consumed in recovering the solvent. Compared to a dilute acid bioethanol process, the organosolv process was estimated to consume 34 % more energy. Allocating all emissions from natural gas combustion to the produced ethanol led to fossil CO2 emissions of 13.5 g per megajoule (MJ) of ethanol. The total fossil CO2 emissions of the process, including also feedstock transportation and other less significant emission sources, would almost certainly not exceed the US Renewable Fuel Standard threshold limit (36.5 g CO2/MJ ethanol).

Keywords

Organosolv Pretreatment Bioethanol Mass and energy balances Simulation Carbon dioxide 

Abbreviations

AFEX

Ammonia fiber explosion

CO2

Carbon dioxide

DP

Furfural degradation products

EtOH

Ethanol

F

Furfural

GHG

Greenhouse gas

H2SO4

Sulfuric acid

HCl

Hydrochloric acid

HMF

5-Hydroxymethylfurfural

ki

Kinetic coefficients

LMW

Low molecular weight

LTW

Liquid-to-wood ratio

MT

Metric ton

NaOH

Sodium hydroxide

NREL

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

NRTL

Non-random two-liquid

NRTL-HOC

Non-random two-liquid-Hayden-O’Connel

SPORL

Sulfite pretreatment to overcome lignocelluloses recalcitrance

TOPO

Trioctyl phosphine oxide

v/v

Volume/volume (volume concentration)

wt%

Mass percentage

WWT

Wastewater treatment

X

Monomeric xylose

XO

Oligomeric xylan

Supplementary material

13399_2013_74_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (332 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 331 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse Kautto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matthew J. Realff
    • 3
  • Arthur J. Ragauskas
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Industrial ManagementLappeenranta University of TechnologyLappeenrantaFinland
  3. 3.School of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Institute of Paper Science and TechnologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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