Research barriers continue to exist in all phases of the emerging cellulosic ethanol biorefining industry. These barriers include the development of sustainable and abundant biomass feedstock, the assembly of viable assembly systems formatting the feedstock and moving it from the field (e.g., the forest) to the biorefinery, and improving conversion technologies. Each of these phases of cellulosic ethanol production are fundamentally connected, but computational tools used to support and inform analysis within each phase remain largely disparate. This paper discusses the integration of a feedstock assembly system modeling toolkit and an Aspen Plus® conversion process model. Many important biomass feedstock characteristics, such as composition, moisture, particle size and distribution, ash content, etc. are most effectively managed within the assembly system, but generally come at an economic cost. The integration of the assembly system and the conversion process modeling tools will facilitate a seamless investigation of the assembly system conversion process interface. Through the integrated framework, the user can design the assembly system for a particular biorefinery by specifying location, feedstock, equipment, and unit operation specifications. The assembly system modeling toolkit then provides economic valuation, and detailed biomass feedstock composition and formatting information. This data is seamlessly and dynamically used to run the Aspen Plus® conversion process model. The model can then be used to investigate the design of systems for cellulosic ethanol production from field to final product.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/doug_mccorkle/5/