Integration of Feedstock Assembly System and Cellulosic Ethanol Conversion Models to Analyze Bioenergy System Performance

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Abodeely, Jared
McCorkle, Douglas
Bryden, Kenneth
Muth, David
Wendt, Daniel
Kenney, Kevin
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Research barriers continue to exist in all phases of the emerging cellulosic ethanol biorefining industry. These barriers include the development of sustainable and abundant biomass feedstock, the assembly of viable assembly systems formatting the feedstock and moving it from the field (e.g., the forest) to the biorefinery, and improving conversion technologies. Each of these phases of cellulosic ethanol production are fundamentally connected, but computational tools used to support and inform analysis within each phase remain largely disparate. This paper discusses the integration of a feedstock assembly system modeling toolkit and an Aspen Plus® conversion process model. Many important biomass feedstock characteristics, such as composition, moisture, particle size and distribution, ash content, etc. are most effectively managed within the assembly system, but generally come at an economic cost. The integration of the assembly system and the conversion process modeling tools will facilitate a seamless investigation of the assembly system conversion process interface. Through the integrated framework, the user can design the assembly system for a particular biorefinery by specifying location, feedstock, equipment, and unit operation specifications. The assembly system modeling toolkit then provides economic valuation, and detailed biomass feedstock composition and formatting information. This data is seamlessly and dynamically used to run the Aspen Plus® conversion process model. The model can then be used to investigate the design of systems for cellulosic ethanol production from field to final product.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2010