A Systematic Approach for the Design of Integrated Energy and Chemicals Production



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With the tightening of the crude oil supply-demand gap, interest in energy independence, and global climate change concerns, attention has been directed to finding alternatives to crude oil. In particular, efforts have focused on alternative feedstock for liquid transportation fuels and chemicals production. The purpose of this work is to investigate the potential use of biomass and natural gas as alternative options to petroleum for liquid transportation fuels and chemicals production. From a broader perspective, this work explores the synthesis of integrated industrial complexes that can lead to various benefits including conservation of material and energy resources, reduction of environmental impact, improvement in capital productivity, increase in material utilization, and enhancement in natural-resource monetization.

The fundamental research approach is a process systems approach. First the system is defined and investigated. This investigation is used to determine if the system is feasible through various criteria (economic, environmental, and social). Targeting techniques are used to reduce the number of options investigated. If it is determined that the system is feasible, opportunities for improvement are identified. If the system is not feasible, major issues are identified and potential prospects to achieve feasibility are investigated. Focus is directed to the major issues with the greatest impact on system feasibility.

In this work, initial focus is directed to the production of synthetic liquid transportation fuels from biomass. This is followed by focus on intermediates which would facilitate the integration of multiple processing facilities. This understanding is used to synthesis an intra-process resource management framework. Finally the potential to use natural gas to mitigate CO2 emissions by chemically fixating the CO2 is investigated and results presented.