Balancing Economics and Sustainability
To be able to compete with fossil feedstock, highly efficient production of biomass-based products is required to optimize overall process economics and to minimize negative environmental impact. In order to reach reasonable production costs, a favorable economy-of-scale must be identified with scale-up data applied to a model.
At ABPDU we utilize techno-economic analyses (TEA) at different levels of rigor at various stages of the conversion process from preliminary exploration and detailed investigation to development and validation. TEA provides us with a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the impact that technology and research breakthroughs have on the financial viability of the biomass conversion strategy.
How TEA Works
An integral tool for both research and commercial project development, TEA combines process modeling and engineering design with economic evaluation. TEA helps to assess the economic viability of a process and provides direction to research, development, investment, and policy making. It integrates well with the stage gate analysis process many private industry and R&D centers use for project development. To be fully effective, TEA requires the harnessing of detailed information drawn from multiple sources such as literature, research data, and vendor specifications.
Eliminating bottlenecks and optimizing the process is a high priority in scale-up research and TEA is a powerful tool that helps us addresses these issues. We utilize the pilot scale data and simulate the operation of a commercial scale facility. This simulation enables us to identify bottlenecks in the process and re-define the scope of future process research.
Our Techno-Economic Analysis Methodologies
- Feedstock handling
- Biomass Deconstruction
- Product recovery
- Wastewater treatment
We integrate these units and populate the model with data generated at the ABPDU or elsewhere and identify the most expensive processes and/or material handling steps. We can also identify geographical location related restrictions that can sway the economic analysis. Once such a performing model is developed, we are able to compare it to similarly developed models for other end-to-end technology pathways. Such comparisons can guide strategic decision-making, very early on.
Mass and Energy Balance
Related Papers and Publications
Predictive modeling to de-risk bio-based manufacturing by adapting to variability in lignocellulosic biomass supply
This study develops a predictive model to optimize biomass blends for commercial-scale biorefinery processing
Post-consumer absorbent hygiene products can be economically converted to fermentable sugar intermediates, biofuels, and bio-based products
Biofuels that are produced from biobased materials are a good alternative to petroleum based fuels. They offer several benefits to society and the environment. Producing second generation biofuels is even more challenging than producing first generation biofuels due the complexity of the biomass and issues related to producing, harvesting, and transporting less dense biomass to centralized biorefineries.
Techno-economic Analysis and Life-cycle Assessment of Cellulosic Isobutanol and Comparison with Cellulosic Ethanol and N-Butanol
This work presents a detailed analysis of the production design and economics of the cellulosic isobutanol conversion processes and compares cellulosic isobutanol with cellulosic ethanol and n-butanol in the areas of fuel properties and engine compatibility, fermentation technology, product purification process design and energy consumption…
High Gravity and High Cell Density Mitigate Some of the Fermentation Inhibitory Effects of Softwood Hydrolysates
After steam pretreatment of lignocellulosic substrates the fermentation of the biomass derived sugars to ethanol is typically problematic because of both the generally low sugar concentrations that can be supplied and the presence of naturally occurring and process derived inhibitors.