Techno-economic assessment of the production of phthalic anhydride from corn stover

Sara Giarola, Charles Romain, Charlotte K. Williams, Jason P. Hallett, Nilay Shah
2016 Chemical engineering research & design  
Corn stover Phthalic anhydride Simulation a b s t r a c t Phthalic anhydride is used worldwide for an extremely broad range of applications spanning from the plastics industry to the synthesis of resins, agricultural fungicides and amines. This work proposes a conceptual design of a process for the production of phthalic anhydride from an agricultural residue (i.e. corn stover), energy integration alternatives as well as water consumption and life cycle greenhouse emissions assessment. The
more » ... o-economic and financial appraisal of the flowsheet proposed is performed. Results show how the valorization of all the carbohydrate-rich fractions present in the biomass as well as energy savings and integration is crucial to obtain an economically viable process and that it is in principle possible to produce renewable phthalic anhydride in a cost-competitive fashion with a lower impact on climate change compared to the traditional synthetic route. (N. Shah). due to environmental policies (at both national and international levels) but also due to initiatives of private companies (like Cargill and BASF) (Golden and Handfield, 2014). The emerging bioeconomy growth is currently led by the bio-plastics sector but is expected to soon include specialty chemicals up to a significant extent (Arundel and Sawaya, 2009). The replacement of petroleum-derived products with bio-based ones is a promising answer to energy security and climate change issues. As a matter of fact, a large number of potential applications of biomass to produce bulk and niche chemicals have already been disclosed by chemistry and biotechnology researchers (EC, 2006) but concerns regarding the technical and practical feasibility of large-scale biorefining infrastructures still hinder the expansion of these systems. Bio-ethanol has received considerable attention as a basic chemical and fuel additive. The extensive research on bioethanol has revealed that process intensification is essential to cut the production costs and ensure process viability. He and Zhang (2011) designed and optimised a thermo-chemical process for ethanol production where biomass wood chips were dried and gasified. The syngas produced was then cleaned and converted into alcohols. Ethanol and a mixture of higher alcohols were purified and sold. He and Zhang (2011) assessed the process in http://dx.
doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2015.10.034 fatcat:lfdpblyiwjhajebwdkfhaoaeyu