5-hydroxymethylfurfural Production in a Lignocellulosic Biorefinery: Techno-economic Analysis
Santiago, Barbara S.L.
Guirardello, Reginaldo
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Santiago B.S., Guirardello R., 2020, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural Production in a Lignocellulosic Biorefinery: Techno-economic Analysis, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 80, 139-144.
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5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is one of the leading versatile building blocks in the biorefinery context, and it is pointed as one of the top value-added chemicals from biomass. Its derivatives are in the main segments of the chemical industry, especially in the polymer market. One example is 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA), one of the twelve most promising biobased chemicals according to the US Department of Energy. It can substitute terephthalic acid in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production, used in huge markets that include bottles, cans, foils, cosmetics, among others. HMF has been produced using fructose as raw material. However, this feedstock represents more than 80% of the final minimum selling price. In order to make the production process economically viable and competitive, it is essential to use cheaper raw material such as lignocellulosic biomass. The aim of this research, therefore, is to addresses a techno-economic analysis of the 5-hydroxymethylfurfural production in a lignocellulosic biorefinery, highlighting the main obstacles to reduce the product cost and the opportunities to make it more competitive. The analysis of raw materials cost indicated a minimum production cost of 0.21 US$/mol, and the cash flow analysis, considering the capital cost, indicated a minimum selling price of 3.18 US$/mol. The results indicate that the HMF production process analysed is not economically feasible. The results suggest the necessity to improve the biomass hydrolysis and to increase the glucose-HMF yield.
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