Publication details

Title On the use of systems technologies and a systematic approach for the synthesis and the design of future biorefineries
Document Type Article
Year 2010
Authors Kokossis, A.C., Yang, A.
Source Computers and Chemical Engineering, vol.34, no.9, p.1397-1405
Keywords Biorefineries; Optimization; Process integration; Process synthesis; Renewables
Abstract Systems technologies emerge with a powerful potential to support the deployment and design of future biorefineries. The chemical industry experiences a steady growth in the use of renewables induced by the gradual depletion of oil, uncertainties in energy supplies and a commanding requirement to reduce GHG emissions and save the planet. Renewables introduce an impressive range of options with biorefining at the center of attention as an emerging industrial concept, uniquely attached to chemical engineering and aiming to transform plant-derived biomass into a variety of products including transport fuels, platform chemicals, polymers, and specialty chemicals. In competing with conventional processes, biorefineries should match maximum efficiencies with better design and process integration. The paper highlights the pivotal role of systems technology to foster innovation, preview options, and support high-throughput computational experimentation, arguing that systems tools are largely under-deployed. Systems-enabled platforms could instead function as powerful environments to generate ideas for integrated designs and offer tremendous services to the complex and large problems produced by the numerous portfolios of feedstocks, unknown portfolios of products, multiple chemistries, and multiple processing paths. Complexities certainly exceed capabilities of previous methodologies but established achievements and experience with similar problems are excellent starting points for future contributions. Besides a general discussion, the paper outlines opportunities for innovation in design, concept-level synthesis, process integration, and the development of supply chains. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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