Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

economic assessment Related Abstracts

3 Lignin Valorization: Techno-Economic Analysis of Three Lignin Conversion Routes

Authors: Iris Vural Gursel, Andrea Ramirez


Effective utilization of lignin is an important mean for developing economically profitable biorefineries. Current literature suggests that large amounts of lignin will become available in second generation biorefineries. New conversion technologies will, therefore, be needed to carry lignin transformation well beyond combustion to produce energy, but towards high-value products such as chemicals and transportation fuels. In recent years, significant progress on catalysis has been made to improve transformation of lignin, and new catalytic processes are emerging. In this work, a techno-economic assessment of two of these novel conversion routes and comparison with more established lignin pyrolysis route were made. The aim is to provide insights into the potential performance and potential hotspots in order to guide the experimental research and ease the commercialization by early identifying cost drivers, strengths, and challenges. The lignin conversion routes selected for detailed assessment were: (non-catalytic) lignin pyrolysis as the benchmark, direct hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of lignin and hydrothermal lignin depolymerisation. Products generated were mixed oxygenated aromatic monomers (MOAMON), light organics, heavy organics, and char. For the technical assessment, a basis design followed by process modelling in Aspen was done using experimental yields. A design capacity of 200 kt/year lignin feed was chosen that is equivalent to a 1 Mt/y scale lignocellulosic biorefinery. The downstream equipment was modelled to achieve the separation of the product streams defined. For determining external utility requirement, heat integration was considered and when possible gasses were combusted to cover heating demand. The models made were used in generating necessary data on material and energy flows. Next, an economic assessment was carried out by estimating operating and capital costs. Return on investment (ROI) and payback period (PBP) were used as indicators. The results of the process modelling indicate that series of separation steps are required. The downstream processing was found especially demanding in the hydrothermal upgrading process due to the presence of significant amount of unconverted lignin (34%) and water. Also, external utility requirements were found to be high. Due to the complex separations, hydrothermal upgrading process showed the highest capital cost (50 M€ more than benchmark). Whereas operating costs were found the highest for the direct HDO process (20 M€/year more than benchmark) due to the use of hydrogen. Because of high yields to valuable heavy organics (32%) and MOAMON (24%), direct HDO process showed the highest ROI (12%) and the shortest PBP (5 years). This process is found feasible with a positive net present value. However, it is very sensitive to the prices used in the calculation. The assessments at this stage are associated with large uncertainties. Nevertheless, they are useful for comparing alternatives and identifying whether a certain process should be given further consideration. Among the three processes investigated here, the direct HDO process was seen to be the most promising.

Keywords: Process Design, Biorefinery, economic assessment, lignin conversion

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2 Economic Assessment of CO2-Based Methane, Methanol and Polyoxymethylene Production

Authors: Wieland Hoppe, Nadine Wachter, Stefan Bringezu


Carbon dioxide (CO2) utilization might be a promising way to substitute fossil raw materials like coal, oil or natural gas as carbon source of chemical production. While first life cycle assessments indicate a positive environmental performance of CO2-based process routes, a commercialization of CO2 is limited by several economic obstacles up to now. We, therefore, analyzed the economic performance of the three CO2-based chemicals methane and methanol as basic chemicals and polyoxymethylene as polymer on a cradle-to-gate basis. Our approach is oriented towards life cycle costing. The focus lies on the cost drivers of CO2-based technologies and options to stimulate a CO2-based economy by changing regulative factors. In this way, we analyze various modes of operation and give an outlook for the potentially cost-effective development in the next decades. Biogas, waste gases of a cement plant, and flue gases of a waste incineration plant are considered as CO2-sources. The energy needed to convert CO2 into hydrocarbons via electrolysis is assumed to be supplied by wind power, which is increasingly available in Germany. Economic data originates from both industrial processes and process simulations. The results indicate that CO2-based production technologies are not competitive with conventional production methods under present conditions. This is mainly due to high electricity generation costs and regulative factors like the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG). While the decrease in production costs of CO2-based chemicals might be limited in the next decades, a modification of relevant regulative factors could potentially promote an earlier commercialization.

Keywords: economic assessment, carbon capture and utilization (CCU), life cycle costing (LCC), power-to-X

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1 Deterministic Modelling to Estimate Economic Impact from Implementation and Management of Large Infrastructure

Authors: Dimitrios J. Dimitriou


It is widely recognised that the assets portfolio development is helping to enhance economic growth, productivity and competitiveness. While numerous studies and reports certify the positive effect of investments in large infrastructure investments on the local economy, still, the methodology to estimate the contribution in economic development is a challenging issue for researchers and economists. The key question is how to estimate those economic impacts in each economic system. This paper provides a compact and applicable methodological framework providing quantitative results in terms of the overall jobs and income generated into the project life cycle. According to a deterministic mathematical approach, the key variables and the modelling framework are presented. The numerical case study highlights key results for a new motorway project in Greece, which is experienced economic stress for many years, providing the opportunity for comparisons with similar cases.

Keywords: Quantitative Modelling, Economic impact, economic assessment, large transport infrastructure

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