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Process modeling and analysis of pulp mill-based integrated biorefinery with hemicellulose pre-extraction for ethanol production: A comparative study

Huang, Hua-Jiang, Ramaswamy, Shri, Al-Dajani, Waleed Wafa, Tschirner, Ulrike
Bioresource technology 2010 v.101 no.2 pp. 624-631
pulp and paper mills, raw materials, hemicellulose, biorefining, ethanol production, biomass, renewable energy sources, kraft pulping, cost analysis, emissions
Pulp and paper mills represent a major platform to use more effectively an abundant, renewable bio-resource - wood. Modification of the modern day pulp mills into integrated forest biorefineries (IFBR) presents an excellent opportunity to produce, in addition to valuable cellulose fiber, co-products including fuel grade ethanol and additional energy, thus resulting in increased revenue streams and profitability and potentially lower the greenhouse gas emissions. A process model to simulate the integrate forest biorefinery manufacturing pulp and other co-products has been developed. This model has been used to compare three integrated biorefinery scenarios: the conventional Kraft pulping process, the pulp mill-based IFBR with hemicelluloses extraction prior to pulping for ethanol production, and the pulp mill-based IFBR with both pre-extracted hemicelluloses and the short fiber for ethanol production. Based on a fixed feedstock throughput of 2000dryMgwood/day, results show that the pulp mill-based IFBR with both pre-extracted hemicelluloses and the short fiber cellulose converted to ethanol can produce 0.038MMm³ (10.04MMgal) ethanol per year at a minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) of $491/m³ ($1.86/gal). The economic feasibility of IFBR can be further improved by using further improvements in the pre-extraction process, other biomass such as corn stover for producing ethanol, and taking advantage of the economies of scale.