Integrated Biorefineries (IBRs) – Key Technology Challenges and Opportunities

R. Shende
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology,
United States

Keywords: biomass, feedstock, biorefinery, integrated biorefinerires


Integrated biorefineries (IBRs) utilizing lignocellulosic biomass feedstock (e. g. corn stover, energy crop) or MSW to produce ethanol/butanol, hydrocarbons, and other bioproducts will need to exhibit some revenue generation from the derived waste streams to offset the fuel cost. Corn is the largest agricultural commodity in the world with the production rate of more than 1 billion ton per year. Corn stover, which is a non-grain part of harvested corn, can be processed in an integrated biorefinery to produce fuel and value-added products via hydrothermal liquefaction/carbonization (HTL/HTC) technology. This study will cover energy efficient production of oil and biochar from corn stover/unhydrolyzed solids along with the valorization of HTL derived waste streams into lactic acid or poly(lactide), and phenol. Biochar is further valorized into nanoscale carbon with specific surface area >1300 m2/g, which can find application in energy storage devices such as supercapacitors or batteries. The carbon is found to be useful as an electrode material for asymmetric supercapacitor with specific capacitance of >250 F/g. As pilot scale trials are currently being undertaken, biomass processing, energy and mass balances, energy recovery, and waste stream valorization will be presented with some technoeconomic feasibility.