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Multi-Objective Sustainability Optimization of Biomass Residues to Ethanol via Gasification and Syngas Fermentation: Trade-Offs between Profitability, Energy Efficiency, and Carbon Emissions

  • medeiros, de
  • filho, maciel
Publication Date
Sep 23, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/fermentation7040201
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This work presents a strategy for optimizing the production process of ethanol via integrated gasification and syngas fermentation, a conversion platform of growing interest for its contribution to carbon recycling. The objective functions (minimum ethanol selling price (MESP), energy efficiency, and carbon footprint) were evaluated for the combinations of different input variables in models of biomass gasification, energy production from syngas, fermentation, and ethanol distillation, and a multi-objective genetic algorithm was employed for the optimization of the integrated process. Two types of waste feedstocks were considered, wood residues and sugarcane bagasse, with the former leading to lower MESP and a carbon footprint of 0.93 USD/L and 3 g CO2eq/MJ compared to 1.00 USD/L and 10 g CO2eq/MJ for sugarcane bagasse. The energy efficiency was found to be 32% in both cases. An uncertainty analysis was conducted to determine critical decision variables, which were found to be the gasification zone temperature, the split fraction of the unreformed syngas sent to the combustion chamber, the dilution rate, and the gas residence time in the bioreactor. Apart from the abovementioned objectives, other aspects such as water footprint, ethanol yield, and energy self-sufficiency were also discussed.

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