S. Farzad


2 Self-Energy Sufficiency Assessment of the Biorefinery Annexed to a Typical South African Sugar Mill

Authors: M. Ali Mandegari, S. Farzad, , J. F. Görgens


Sugar is one of the main agricultural industries in South Africa and approximately livelihoods of one million South Africans are indirectly dependent on sugar industry which is economically struggling with some problems and should re-invent in order to ensure a long-term sustainability. Second generation biorefinery is defined as a process to use waste fibrous for the production of biofuel, chemicals animal food, and electricity. Bioethanol is by far the most widely used biofuel for transportation worldwide and many challenges in front of bioethanol production were solved. Biorefinery annexed to the existing sugar mill for production of bioethanol and electricity is proposed to sugar industry and is addressed in this study. Since flowsheet development is the key element of the bioethanol process, in this work, a biorefinery (bioethanol and electricity production) annexed to a typical South African sugar mill considering 65ton/h dry sugarcane bagasse and tops/trash as feedstock was simulated. Aspen PlusTM V8.6 was applied as simulator and realistic simulation development approach was followed to reflect the practical behaviour of the plant. Latest results of other researches considering pretreatment, hydrolysis, fermentation, enzyme production, bioethanol production and other supplementary units such as evaporation, water treatment, boiler, and steam/electricity generation units were adopted to establish a comprehensive biorefinery simulation. Steam explosion with SO2 was selected for pretreatment due to minimum inhibitor production and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) configuration was adopted for enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of cellulose and hydrolyze. Bioethanol purification was simulated by two distillation columns with side stream and fuel grade bioethanol (99.5%) was achieved using molecular sieve in order to minimize the capital and operating costs. Also boiler and steam/power generation were completed using industrial design data. Results indicates that the annexed biorefinery can be self-energy sufficient when 35% of feedstock (tops/trash) bypass the biorefinery process and directly be loaded to the boiler to produce sufficient steam and power for sugar mill and biorefinery plant.

Keywords: Biorefinery, Electricity, Bioethanol, self-energy sufficiency, tops/trash

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1 Biorefinery Annexed to South African Sugar Mill: Energy Sufficiency Analysis

Authors: S. Farzad, M. Ali Mandegari, J. F. Görgens


The South African Sugar Industry, which has a significant impact on the national economy, is currently facing problems due to increasing energy price and low global sugar price. The available bagasse is already combusted in low-efficiency boilers of the sugar mills while bagasse is generally recognized as a promising feedstock for second generation bioethanol production. Establishment of biorefinery annexed to the existing sugar mills, as an alternative for the revitalization of sugar industry producing biofuel and electricity has been proposed and considered in this study. Since the scale is an important issue in the feasibility of the technology, this study has taken into account a typical sugar mill with 300 ton/hr sugar cane capacity. The biorefinery simulation is carried out using Aspen PlusTM V8.6, in which the sugar mill’s power and steam demand has been considered. Hence, sugar mills in South Africa can be categorized as highly efficient, efficient, and not efficient with steam consumption of 33, 40, and 60 tons of steam per ton of cane and electric power demand of 10 MW; three different scenarios are studied. The sugar cane bagasse and tops/trash are supplied to the biorefinery process and the wastes/residues (mostly lignin) from the process are burnt in the CHP plant in order to produce steam and electricity for the biorefinery and sugar mill as well. Considering the efficient sugar mill, the CHP plant has generated 5 MW surplus electric powers, but the obtained energy is not enough for self-sufficiency of the plant (Biorefinery and Sugar mill) due to lack of 34 MW heat. One of the advantages of second generation biorefinery is its low impact on the environment and carbon footprint, thus the plant should be self-sufficient in energy without using fossil fuels. For this reason, a portion of fresh bagasse should be sent to the CHP plant to meet the energy requirements. An optimization procedure was carried out to find out the appropriate portion to be burnt in the combustor. As a result, 20% of the bagasse is re-routed to the combustor which leads to 5 tons of LP Steam and 8.6 MW electric power surpluses.

Keywords: Biorefinery, Energy Analysis, Bioethanol, sugarcane bagasse, sugar mill

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