Anna Voll, Andreas Harwardt, Wolfgang Marquardt:
Production of biofuels – The hydrogen consumption as performance indicator in the early design stage
In: World Hydrogen Energy Conference 2010, Essen, 16-21.05.2010
In order to develop a sustainable biofuel production an integrated approach is followed in the cluster of excellence “Tailor-Made Fuels from biomass” including research in the fields of (bio-)chemical conversion, processing and combustion technologies. In contrast to other research projects, neither the raw materials nor the fuel composition are specified from the beginning so that a variety of process alternatives could be designed. To guarantee an efficient fuel production in the end, a large number of scenarios – especially in the reaction system – needs to be evaluated in the early design stage. The hydrogen consumption has been identified as one of the key indicators for the classification of production routes. In this contribution we show how methods of process systems engineering can be applied for the systematic generation and analysis of production alternatives. The different reaction pathways are identified and evaluated by the approach of reaction networks using mathematical optimization techniques. In this way the hydrogen consumption can be estimated for each route and an integrated solution to provide the required amount of hydrogen can be developed. Based on this information, conceptual process design studies can be performed for the most promising alternatives. As an example, the procedure is applied to the production of methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF).