Release Notes (2013 Model Update Notes)

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As a result of continuing efforts from the technoeconomic (TE) analysis group at JBEI, two new biorefinery models have been developed. The models have been updated based on research and analysis studies that have been published since the release of the previous models (Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2010)). The process configuration (i.e. flowsheet structure) in these models was adapted from a recent study by NREL (Humbird et al. (2011)), concerning the production of biofuel from corn stover using dilute acid pretreatment. The models encompass complete biofuel production processes, including feedstock handling, pretreatment, saccharification, fermentation, product recovery, wastewater treatment, and utilities sections. In both cases, the processes are modeled such that the facility is self-sufficient with respect to steam requirements. In other words, lignin, other solids, and the biogas resulting from wastewater treatment are used to produce steam and electricity at an on-site co-generation facility. Excess steam is used to produce electricity in a multi-stage turbogenerator and excess electricity is sold to the grid.

The first model corresponds to a scenario in which the most significant process performance variables were obtained from the current research literature. In this model, the conversion data in pretreatment, saccharification and fermentation sections were taken from demonstrated experimental studies (Chen et al. (2012) and Sedlak and Ho (2004)). The second model represents a projected scenario, in which the process variables correspond to those that could be achieved through additional research and innovation. For instance, over 90% sugar yield in pretreatment/sachaarificaiton sections and around 90% ethanol yield in fermentation section are proposed.

In these models, the costs of major pieces of equipment, labor, and raw materials were based on previous technoeconomic studies (Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2010), Aden et al. (2002), Humbird et al., (2011), Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2013)). The reference year was updated to 2012 and, accordingly, costs were adjusted using the Chemical Engineering Plant Cost Index and inflation data. The financial assumptions and the economic analysis were based on Aden et al. (2002), Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2010) and Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2013).

The models are meant to be representative of the above described scenarios, but can be easily modified to represent scenarios of interest to users with diverging goals in the biofuels community. Users could thus change the process parameters and/or its configuration depending on their research and analysis needs and the nature of their in-house technologies. As before, we expect that these models will continue to facilitate transparent communication within the biofuel research community.


Please contact N.V.S.N. Murthy Konda. If you have any suggestions to improve these models, please provide enough details including references for data etc. Please note that these models are developed in SuperPro Designer V8.5. If you are facing convergence problems (e.g., due to version upgrade) and for any other software related questions, please contact SuperPro Designer staff directly.

Please cite this work as:

Konda, N.V.S.N.M., Klein-Marcuschamer, D., Simmons, B.A. and Blanch, H.W. Wiki-based techno-economic models for the production of lignocellulosic ethanol using dilute acid pretreatment. August 2013.


• Aden et al. (2002) Lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol process design and economics utilizing co-current dilute acid prehydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis for corn stover. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

• Chen et al. (2012) Reducing acid in dilute acid pretreatment and the impact on enzymatic saccharification. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 39:691-700

• Humbird et al. (2011) Process Design and economics for Biochemical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

• Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2010) Technoeconomic analysis of biofuels: A wiki-based platform for lignocellulosic biorefineries. Biomass and Bioenergy. 34:1914-1921.

• Klein-Marcuschamer et al. (2013) Technoeconomic analysis of renewable aviation fuel frommicroalgae, Pongamia pinnata, and sugarcane. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. 7:416-428.

• Sedlak M. and Ho N.W. (2004) Production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass hydrolysates using genetically engineered saccharomyces yeast capable of cofermenting glucose and xylose. Applied biochemistry and biotechnology. 113-116:403-416.

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