Lignocellulosic biomass is one of the most promising resources for production of transportation fuels. Butene oligomers, which can be used as a gasoline range fuel, can be derived from lignocellulosic biomass. This work performs a techno economic feasibility study for a strategy for catalytic butene oligomers (BO) production from lignocellulosic biomass using 2-sec-butylphenol (SBP) solvents. Our strategy includes the pretreatment step to obtain cellulose and hemicellulose separately from lignocellulosic biomass. After pretreatment, the cellulose fraction can be converted to levulinic acid (LA) by monophasic reaction, while the hemicellulose fraction can be converted to LA by biphasic reaction followed by hydrogenation. The LA is then converted to BO via γ-valerolactone (GVL) and butene production. Moreover, this study designs separation subsystems not only to fit optimized feed concentration for catalytic reactions but also to recycle SBP solvents for the reactions. To minimize energy requirements of the process, a heat exchanger network including heat integration between process streams is designed, and thereby the energy requirements can be satisfied by combustion of biomass residues (lignin). Our strategy has advantages: (1) high biomass-to-fuels yield (37.1%) (2) high biomass-derived intermediate recovery (72-99%) (3) high SBP recovery (99%). Our techno economic evaluation reports that the proposed strategy leads to a minimum selling price (MSP) of $4.38 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE) for butene oligomers using a corn stover feedstock. This study also performs sensitivity analyses for identifying the impacts of four key economic parameters on the MSP and the analyses show that the MSP can be decrease to $3.71 GGE-1 when using best possible parameters.
Papers presented to the 12th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Costa de Sol, Spain on 11-13 July 2016.