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Towards improved ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass

Triana, CF; (2016) Towards improved ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Ethanol from biological feedstock has emerged as a promising alternative for the generation of energy from renewable sources in order to mitigate the damages caused by the gas emissions associated to the consumption of fossil fuels. In many countries, ethanol is already being produced at industrial scale from different biological raw materials. However, there are some technical issues related to this process that need to be addressed and one of the major problems is the high heat requirements which makes this process less competitive against well-established fuels. This work proposes an optimisation methodology based on a dynamic approach to improve the overall efficiency of the process by considering new configurations and designs that allow the reduction of operating costs, usage of utilities, the size of units, etc. The work initially provides an introduction to the concept of fuels and the current global scenario regarding their production and consumption. Next, a general review of biofuels is given, in particular the production of ethanol from corn stover and the different units involved in this process. Additionally, mathematical formulations of the different units in the process are presented including detailed kinetic models and dynamic mass and energy balances. These models are first validated and then used in the construction of an overall model of the entire process which so far has not been available in open literature. This thesis also presents the development of an empirical mathematical model of an organophilic membrane for ethanol removal from aqueous solutions to increase the separation rates of ethanol in the process. Finally, this works presents the optimisation of the ethanol production process considering the implementation of heat storage units to reduce the consumption of utilities such as steam and cooling water by reducing the Total Annualised Cost (TAC). The results obtained show that the implementation of heat integration in the process can achieve a reduction of 7 % in the TAC and 10 % in the total energy consumption. These results indicate that ethanol production from corn stover with the use of energy storage is a viable alternative for energy generation that can become part of the main market of the production of green technologies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Towards improved ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Ethanol, Lignocellulosic biomass, Optimization, Biomass, Energy, Fermentation, Distillation, Pervaporation, Heat Integration, Total Annualized Cost
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1529388
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