Synthesis and optimisation of a lignocellulosic biomass pre-processing system for thermochemical biorefineries

Goh, Wui Seng (2018) Synthesis and optimisation of a lignocellulosic biomass pre-processing system for thermochemical biorefineries. MPhil thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Fossil resources are widely utilised as sources for energy and chemical productions by society. Despite of its vast usage, it is often also identified as non-sustainable resources due to its limited availability and its contribution to greenhouse gas emission. In such regards, biomass, particularly lignocellulosic biomass is identified as a promising renewable source of carbon that has potential to replace fossil resources in energy and chemical productions. Biorefinery or integrated biorefinery is a processing facility that uses biomass as feedstock to produce value-added products, such as energy, fuels and chemicals. Integrated biorefinery can also be regarded as a processing facility that jointly apply various types of biomass processing technologies that produces useful products from biomass. In such regards, one of the important research and development areas for biorefinery or integrated biorefinery is to synthesise and integrate wide spectrums of biomass processing technologies as a whole.

In the last decade, various Process Systems Engineering (PSE) approaches have been presented to synthesise a sustainable biorefinery and integrated biorefinery. It is noted that these approaches are mainly mathematical optimisation approaches. On the other hand, as a sustainable biorefinery should depolymerise biomass to intermediates which match with the specifications of further processing steps. Thus, biomass pre-processing system is essential in a biorefinery. The biomass pre-processing system helps to prepare and standardise the biomass into a more appropriate form prior to biomass conversion process. In this work, the more appropriate form of biomass is termed as bio-precursor. However, to date there is no systematic approach for synthesising biomass pre-processing system. In such regards, systematic synthesis of biomass pre-processing system is required. This thesis first presents background of the work, objectives, research methodology and scopes of this study. It is then followed by literature review on the topics related to this work. Next, in order to fill the identified research gaps, in this thesis, a superstructure based mathematical optimisation model is proposed to address the synthesis and optimisation of lignocellulosic biomass pre-processing system in a thermochemical biorefinery. A novel and new modelling technique is used to address the need of tracking particle size of the lignocellulosic biomass. On the other hand, two scenarios are considered which are maximising productivity and minimising energy requirement. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis is conducted as well in this theses. Finally, possible future opportunities of this research work are highlighted in the last part of this thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MPhil)
Supervisors: Ng, Denny Kok Sum
Keywords: biorefinery, biomass pre-processing
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Faculties/Schools: UNMC Malaysia Campus > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Item ID: 51720
Depositing User: GOH, WUI SENG
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2019 03:55
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/51720

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