Study of alpha-olefin production from lignocellulosic biomass: Process design and integration into biorefineries

Type: Master Project (30 Credits)
 Period: Spring 2016
Student: Mr. Andreas Pateromichelakis
Assistant: Katelyn McClung
Context & Objectives
Biorefineries are integrated processing facilities which convert biomass into value-added products, like these alpha-olefins and energy. Lignocellulosic (2nd generation) biorefineries are considered as a viable alternative in promoting the transition from fossil-fuel based to bio-based, sustainable alternatives. 
As the push to step away from fossil fuels grows stronger, there opens up market opportunities for biomass derived fuels and chemicals. One such set of chemicals are alpha-olefins, currently produced almost exclusively from fossil based fuels, which are an important commodity chemical used in detergents, lubricants, plasticizers, and elsewhere.
The aim of this work is the process design of lignocellulosic biorefineries analyzing the different pathways of alpha olefin production.
Tasks & Deliverables
  • Literature review to identify possible conversion technologies with examination of the relevance of feedstock, composition of the product (chain length), and sustainable potential. Recent data available for each technology will be collected and discussed.
  • Process modelling using Aspen Plus simulation software.
  • Thermo-economic and environmental analysis of a case study using 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.

All findings and results will be written in a report and a presentation will be held. Project communications and the final report will be in English. There will be the possibility of a publication in a peer-reviewed conference or journal.