A biorefinery involving internal stream reuse and recycling (including products and co-products) should result in better biomass resource utilisation, leading to a system with increased efficiency, flexibility, profitability and sustainability. To benefit from those advantages, process integration methodologies need to be applied to understand, analyse and design highly integrated biorefineries. A bioethanol integration approach based on mass pinch analysis is presented in this work for the analysis and design of product exchange networks formed in biorefinery pathways featuring a set of processing units (sources and demands) producing or utilising bioethanol. The method is useful to identify system debottleneck opportunities and alternatives for bioethanol network integration that improve utilisation efficiency in biorefineries with added value co-products. This is demonstrated by a case study using a biorefinery producing bioethanol from wheat with arabinoxylan (AX) co-production using bioethanol for AX precipitation. The final integrated bioethanol network design allowed the reduction of bioethanol product utilisation by 94%, avoiding significant revenue losses.
- Pinch analysis