Techno-economic analysis of fast pyrolysis and upgrading facilities employing two depolymerization pathways

Hu, Guiping
Zhang, Yanan
Brown, Tristan
Hu, Guiping
Brown, Robert
Brown, Robert
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We evaluate the economic feasibility of fast pyrolysis and upgrading facilities 11 employing either of two depolymerization pathways: two-stage hydrotreating 12 followed by a FCC (fluid catalytic cracking) stage or single-stage hydrotreating 13 followed by a hydrocracking stage. In the hydrotreating/FCC pathway, two options 14 are available as the hydrogen source for hydrotreating: merchant hydrogen or 15 hydrogen from natural gas reforming. The primary products of the hydrotreating/FCC 16 pathway are commodity chemicals whereas the primary products for the 17 hydrotreating/hydrocracking pathway are transportation fuels and hydrogen. The two 18 pathways are modeled using Aspen Plus® for a 2000 metric tons/day facility. 19 Equipment sizing and cost calculations are based on Aspen Economic Evaluation® 20 software. 21 The fast pyrolysis bio-oil yield is assumed to be 65% of biomass. We calculate the 22 internal rate of return (IRR) for each pathway as a function of feedstock cost, fixed 23 capital investment (FCI), hydrogen and catalyst costs, and facility revenues. The 24 results show that a facility employing the hydrotreating/FCC pathway with hydrogen 25 production via natural gas reforming option generates the highest IRR of 13.3%. 26 Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that product yield, FCI, and biomass cost have the 27 greatest impacts on facility IRR. Monte-Carlo analysis shows that two-stage hydrotreating and FCC of the aqueous phase bio-oil with hydrogen produced via 1 natural gas reforming has a relatively low risk for project investment.

<p>NOTICE: This is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in <em>Chemical Engineering Journal</em>. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in <em>Chemical Engineering Journal</em>, 225 (2013), doi: <a href="" target="_blank">10.1016/j.cej.2013.01.030</a>.</p>
fast pyrolysis, bio-oil upgrading, commodity chemicals, transportation fuels, hydrogen, Mechanical Engineering, Bioeconomy Institute