Energy, Vol.166, 401-413, 2019
Multi-aspect evaluation of integrated forest-based biofuel production pathways: Part 1. Product yields & energetic performance
Forest-based biofuels are strategically important in forest-rich countries like Sweden but the technical performance of several promising production pathways is poorly documented. This study examines product yields and energy efficiencies in six commercially relevant forest-based "drop-in" and "high blend" biofuel production pathways by developing detailed spreadsheet energy balance models. The models are in turn based on pilot-scale performance data from the literature, supplemented with input from technology developers and experts. In most pathways, biofuel production is integrated with a market pulp mill and/or a crude oil refinery. Initial conversion is by pyrolysis, gasification or lignin depolymerization and intermediate products are upgraded by hydrotreatment or catalytic synthesis. While lignin oil (LO) hydrodeoxygenation had the highest expanded system efficiency, considerable uncertainty surrounds product yields owing to absence of suitable experimental data on LO upgrading. Co-feeding vacuum gas oil and fast pyrolysis oil in a fluidized catalytic cracker has a complex and uncertain effect on fossil yields, which requires further investigation. Co-locating bio-oil hydrotreatment at the refinery improves heat utilization, leading to higher system efficiencies. Explicit consideration of mill type and energy requirements is required to avoid performance misestimation as an assumption of energy surplus can confer a definite advantage. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.