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Defining research & development process targets through retro-techno-economic analysis: The sugarcane biorefinery case

Longati, Andreza A., Lino, Anderson R.A., Giordano, Roberto C., Furlan, Felipe F., Cruz, Antonio J.G.
Bioresource technology 2018 v.263 pp. 1-9
biomass, biorefining, case studies, cellulose, economic performance, enzymatic hydrolysis, ethanol, ethanol production, hemicellulose, hydrolysis, lignocellulose, liquids, sugarcane, teams, xylose
A new approach is reported for techno-economic analysis of lignocellulosic ethanol production. With this methodology, general targets for key process variables can be draw, a valuable feedback for Research & Development teams. An integrated first- and second-generation ethanol from sugarcane biorefinery is presented as a case study for the methodology, with the biomass pretreated by liquid hot water, followed by enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose fraction. The hemicellulose fraction may be either fermented or biodigested. The methodology was able to identify the main variables that affect the process global economic performance: enzyme load in the cellulose hydrolysis reactor, cellulose-to-glucose, and xylose-to-ethanol yields. Windows of feasible operation are the graphical output of the methodology, outlining regions to be further explored experimentally. One example of quantitative result is that the maximum feasible enzyme load was 11.3 FPU/gcellulose when xylose is fermented to ethanol and 7.7 FPU/gcellulose when xylose is biodigested.