Technoeconomic Assessment of Utilization of By-products from Forest Industry for Production of Fuels and Chemicals

Maryam Akbari, Siddharth Jain and Amit Kumar.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Forestry by-products are renewable resources which can be converted into usable energy. The utilization of these by-products can help in improving the economic competitiveness of the forest industry. These under-utilized by-products open opportunities for production of high value biobased products which are produced using the materials which are being discarded mostly as a waste today. Moreover, their utilization can reduce usage of other sources of energy and hence the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, the forest sector produces a significant amount of by-products majority of which are not used. There is very limited data available on the volumes of these by-products, their location in Alberta, detailed characterization and their potential use. There is also limited information on potential conversion of these by-products to a common intermediate which can be used in a large scale biorefinery or petrochemical refinery for production of fuels and chemicals.

The overall aim is to perform a comprehensive assessment of by-products from forest operations in Alberta to identify opportunities for production of value-added chemicals and fuels and improved pathways to market. So the total potential of production of intermediates from the by-products of the forest industry which can be used in a large scale biorefinery or a petrochemical refinery for its conversion to fuels and chemicals has been explored.

In this paper, five scenarioes has been evaluated for conversion of black liquor to fuels and chemicals. Techno-economic assessment of different pathways has been conducted to estimate the costs associated with each pathway. For that, different costs such as capital cost, labour cost, maintenace cost and chemicals and utilities cost associated with this process has been calculated. A comparative analysis of the all the pathways in terms of cost of production and its potential will be presented.