Techno-economic evaluation of lignocellulose-based chemicals

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School of Chemical Engineering | Master's thesis
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Biokemia ja mikrobiologia
Degree programme
vii + 80 + [1]
Increasing oil prices, environmental concern and new potential markets have in the past years driven chemical industry to use alternative raw materials such as biomass. So far commercial solutions for bio-based chemicals rely on biomass which is part of the food chain. When these processes are being up-scaled the use of food as raw material will not be sustainable. To solve this problem, new and improved technologies are being developed to make lignocellulose a viable raw material option. The aim of this Master's thesis was to perform a techno-economic evaluation on the production of polylactic acid and succinic acid from straw. In the lignocellulose based chemical production several different upstream and downstream processing methods have been developed and the literature part of this Master's thesis presents the most potential ones. The literature part also includes general information on the chemicals and their current and future markets. In the feasibility study a possible production process for each chemical is presented and described in detail. The investment and production costs were calculated for the designed processes and the results were compared to existing production plants that use non-lignocellulosic biomass as feedstock. Based on this study it is uneconomical to produce polylactic acid and succinic acid form straw despite of lower raw material costs. The total production costs for the designed lignocellulosic processes of polylactic acid and succinic acid are 37 % and 84 % higher than current market prices for respective chemicals. This indicates that further development is needed to make lignocellulose an economically competitive raw material option.
Laakso, Simo
Thesis advisor
Kautto, Jesse
Bergroth, Katja
polylactic acid, bärnstenssyra, PLA, polymjölksyra, succinic acid, lignocellulosa, lignocellulose, halm, straw
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