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SCALE UP FOR A HIGH SOLIDS LOADING AQUEOUS SLURRY FORMATION IN A BIOREFINERY.pdf (1.43 MB)

Scale Up for a High Solids Loading Aqueous Slurry Formation in a Biorefinery

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posted on 2024-04-20, 19:46 authored by Jorge Ernesto Ramirez GutierrezJorge Ernesto Ramirez Gutierrez

Corn stover is a promising resource for biofuels, but its high viscosity makes it challenging to convert into a pumpable slurry. This thesis covers the scale-up, techno-economic assessment, and life cycle assessment to ensure profitable and sustainable biofuel production. In this study, a slurry was created using corn stover pellets, enzymes, and deionized water with a moisture content of 16%. The viscosity of the slurry was measured at different concentrations and shear rates using an Anton Parr rheometer. Important parameters such as the consistency index and flow behavior index were obtained through linear regression, which were then used to predict energy usage by correlating them with slurry concentration. Steady and unsteady state mass and energy balances were conducted to determine operation time, verify power consumption, and provide values for techno-economic and life cycle assessments.

Our study found that slurry can be pumped up to 300g/L concentrations with a viscosity of less than 300 Pa*s at shear rate close to 3Hz. We established a correlation between consistency and flow behavior index with solids content, predicting power consumption in the mixing tank. Our findings enabled us to calculate the production cost of $0.0155 per pound of the pumpable slurry, which is 38% less than the sale price to biorefineries.

This study confirms that it is economically viable to convert corn stover pellets into pumpable slurry for biofuel production without pretreatment. Although the process faces challenges with viscosity, it ensures a steady supply of feed for the biorefinery and results in profitability. The research takes a comprehensive approach that includes benchtop scale-up and assessments, establishing the practicality and cost-effectiveness of slurry production. Experimental findings and correlation analysis provide accurate predictions of power consumption, while steady-state energy balance results closely align with predictions. Techno-economic and life cycle assessments further support the competitiveness of slurry conversion. In essence, this research offers a sustainable solution to challenges in energy generation.

History

Degree Type

  • Master of Science

Department

  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michael Ladisch

Additional Committee Member 2

Ganesan Narnsimhan

Additional Committee Member 3

Carvajal Teresa

Additional Committee Member 4

Mosier Nathan

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