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Replacing the energy-intensive evaporation of stillage by anaerobic digestion is one way of decreasing the energy demand of the lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol process. The biogas can be upgraded and sold as transportation fuel, injected directly into the gas grid or be incinerated on-site for combined heat and power generation. A techno-economic evaluation of the spruce-to-ethanol process, based on SO2-catalysed steam pretreatment followed by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation, has been performed using the commercial flow-sheeting program Aspen Plus. Various process configurations of anaerobic digestion of the stillage, with different combinations of co-products, have been evaluated in terms of energy efficiency and ethanol production cost versus the reference case of evaporation.
Anaerobic digestion of the stillage showed significantly higher overall energy efficiency (87-92%), based on the lower heating values, than the reference case (81%). Although the amount of ethanol produced was the same in all scenarios, the production cost varied between 4.00 and 5.27 Swedish kronor per litre (0.38 0.50 euro/L), including the reference case.
Higher energy efficiency options did not necessarily result in lower ethanol production costs. Anaerobic digestion of the stillage with biogas upgrading was demonstrated to be a favourable option regarding both energy efficiency and ethanol production cost. The difference in the production cost of ethanol between using the whole stillage or only the liquid fraction in anaerobic digestion was negligible for the combination of co-products including upgraded biogas, electricity and district heat.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Biotechnology for biofuels
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Significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real gross domestic product, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. (National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, www.nber.org/cycles.html, accessed 4/23/2009)
Countries in the process of change directed toward economic growth, that is, an increase in production, per capita consumption, and income. The process of economic growth involves better utilization of natural and human resources, which results in a change in the social, political, and economic structures.
The application of mathematical formulas and statistical techniques to the testing and quantifying of economic theories and the solution of economic problems.
A family of gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria that do not form endospores. Its organisms are distributed worldwide with some being saprophytes and others being plant and animal parasites. Many species are of considerable economic importance due to their pathogenic effects on agriculture and livestock.
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