Monday, April 30, 2007

Process modeling update of various leading pretreatment technologies

Richard T. Elander, NREL, Cole Boulevard, Golden, CO 80401 and Tim Eggeman, Neoterics International, 2319 S. Ellis Ct., Lakewood, CO 80228.

The Biomass Refining Consortium for Applied Fundamentals and Innovation (CAFI) was formed in 1999 as a multi-institutional effort to develop comparative information on cellulosic biomass pretreatment options.  Our prior work focused on a comparative evaluation of corn stover feedstock for five leading pretreatment technologies (dilute acid, hot water, ammonia recycle percolation, ammonia fiber explosion and lime).  Our current efforts, known as the CAFI 2 project, have been broadened to include both corn stover and hybrid poplar as feedstocks on which performance data is collected.  Also, an additional pretreatment approach (SO2 pretreatment), has been included in the research and process modeling aspects of the CAFI 2 project.  Process modeling updates include the use of a more current costing basis for the economic models, the development of a graphical user interface, and the incorporation of a woody biomass feedstock handling system that is suitable for handling the hybrid poplar feedstock.  The most recent pretreatment and saccharification data on hybrid poplar for each pretreatment process is being incorporated into the economic models.  This update will include available data related to the incorporation of hydrolyzate fermentation performance and any necessary hydrolyzate conditioning processes into the respective process and economic models for each pretreatment approach and feedstock combination.