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Process design and economic analysis of a biorefinery co-producing itaconic acid and electricity from sugarcane bagasse and trash lignocelluloses

Nieder-Heitmann, Mieke, Haigh, Kathleen F., Görgens, Johann F.
Bioresource technology 2018 v.262 pp. 159-168
biorefining, coal, electricity, feedstocks, glucose, heat, lignocellulose, market prices, process design, production costs, sugar industry, sugarcane bagasse
Itaconic acid has economic potential as a commodity biochemical for the sugar industry, but its production is limited due to high production costs. Using cheaper and alternative lignocellulosic feedstocks together with achieving higher product titres have been identified as potential strategies for viable IA production. Consequently the use of sugarcane bagasse and trash for the production of itaconic acid (IA) and electricity have been investigated for an integrated biorefinery, where the production facility is annexed to an existing sugar mill and new combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Three IA biorefinery scenarios were designed and simulated in Aspen Plus®. Subsequent economic analyses indicated that cheaper feedstocks reduced the IA production cost from 1565.5 US$/t for glucose to 616.5 US$/t, but coal supplementation was required to sufficiently lower the production cost to 604.3 US$/t for a competitive IA selling price of 1740 US$/t, compared to the market price of 1800 US$/t.