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Title: Performance assessment of biofuel production via biomass fast pyrolysis and refinery technologies
Author: Shemfe, Mobolaji B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 6173
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2016
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Biofuels have been identified as one of several GHG emission strategies to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector. Fast pyrolysis of biomass is one approach to producing second generation biofuels. The bio-oil product of fast pyrolysis can be upgraded into essential gasoline and diesel range products with conventional refinery technologies. Thus, it is important to assess their techno- economic and environmental performance at an early stage prior to commercialisation. This research was conducted with the goal of evaluating and comparing the techno-economic and environmental viability of the production of biofuels from fast pyrolysis of biomass and upgrading of bio-oil via two refinery technologies, viz. hydroprocessing and zeolite cracking. In order to achieve this aim, process models of fast pyrolysis of biomass and bio-oil upgrading via hydroprocessing and zeolite cracking were developed. The fast pyrolysis model was based on multi-step kinetic models. In addition, lumped kinetic models of the hydrodeoxygenation reactions of bio-oil were implemented. The models were verified against experimental measurements with good prediction and formed the foundation for the development of a 72 t/day fast pyrolysis plant model in Aspen Plus®. Several strategies were proposed for the two pathways to enhance energy efficiency and profitability. All in all, the results revealed that the hydroprocessing route is 16% more efficient than the zeolite cracking pathway. Moreover, the hydroprocessing route resulted in a minimum fuel selling price of 15% lower than that from the zeolite cracking pathway. Sensitivity analysis revealed that the techno-economic and environmental performance of the both pathways depends on several process, economic and environmental parameters. In particular, biofuel yield, operating cost and income tax were identified as the most sensitive techno-economic parameters, while changes in nitrogen feed gas to the pyrolysis reactor and fuel yield had the most environmental impact. It was concluded that hydroprocessing is a more suitable upgrading pathway than zeolite cracking in terms of economic viability, energy efficiency, and GHG emissions per energy content of fuel produced.
Supervisor: Fidalgo, Beatriz ; Longhurst, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Process modelling ; Techno-economic analysis ; Life cycle analysis ; Biofuel ; Biorefining