Study of different lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment technologies: Process design and integration into biorefineries

Type: Master project (30 credits)

Period: Spring 2016

Student: Ms. Emily Audenis

Assistants: Ayse Dilan Celebi & Maziar Kermani

Context & objectives

Biorefineries are integrated processing facilities that convert biomass into value-added products and energy by maximizing the economic value of biomass while minimizing the waste streams. Lignocellulosic biorefineries are considered as the best alternative to promote the transition from a fossil fuel-based to a bio-based one for a sustainable development.  Pretreatment units are one of the most crucial and costly unit processes in converting lignocellulosic materials. Depending on the biomass composition and by-products produced as a result of the pretreatment, different technologies can be chosen. These factors affect the costs associated with the pretreatment method.
The aim of this work is the process design of lignocellulosic biorefineries consisting of different pretreatment options.
–       Literature review to identify the possible pretreatment technologies with examination of the relevance of feedstock and its sustainable potential. Recent data available for each technology will be collected and discussed.
–       Process modelling with simulation software ASPEN Plus.
–       Thermo-economic and environmental analysis of a case study with OSMOSE tool which is used by IPESE group implementing energy integration and optimization of different process configurations. This allows identification of most promising technologies and sizes of process units and comparison in terms of economic performance and environmental impact.
–       Good knowledge in process and process unit modelling;
–       High familiarity with Aspen Plus software;
–       Background and interest in optimization, reaction kinetics and thermodynamics;
–       Programming skills (e.g. Matlab, Lua, C++,…).
All the findings and results will be written in a report (Hardcopy and pdf) and a presentation will be held.
The project communications and report will be in English. There will be the possibility of a publication in a peer-reviewed conference or journal.