Institution of Biorefinery Engineers, Scientists and Technologists

The Institution of Biorefinery Engineers, Scientists and Technologists

Publication on levulinic acid from MSW selected best paper in Bioresource Technology Vol 215

Posted by The IBEST on 6 June, 2016 at 8:00

Recently published paper “Novel integrated mechanical biological chemical treatment (MBCT) systems for the production of levulinic acid from fraction of municipal solid waste: A comprehensive techno-economic analysis” authored by Jhuma Sadhukhan, Kok Siew Ng and Elias Martinez-Hernandez has been selected as the best article amongst all published in the Special Issue (SI) on "Waste Biorefinery" of Bioresource Technology, volume 215, ElsevierFigure 1 (displayed here) in the paper showing the simulation flowsheet of Levulinic acid production will feature on the Cover Page of the Issue.

This recognizes the potential for the technology and the concept of integrated biorefineries for waste processing into value added products such as chemicals (levulinc acid) and the importance of following an integrated design concept and philosophy recently presented by the authors in the UK-Malaysia workshop in Malaysia.

Simulation flowsheet for levulinic acid production via a chemical conversion section within the novel MBCT system.

Categories: Research news, Other news, New publications

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Reply Afiq Mohd Laziz
20:56 on 6 June, 2016 
Congratulation! :)
Reply The IBEST
6:33 on 11 June, 2016 
This paper, for the first time, reports integrated conceptual MBCT/biorefinery systems for unlocking the value of organics in municipal solid waste (MSW) through the production of levulinic acid (LA by 5 wt%) that increases the economic margin by 110-150%. After mechanical separation recovering recyclables, metals (iron, aluminium, copper) and refuse derived fuel (RDF), lignocelluloses from remaining MSW are extracted by supercritical-water for chemical valorisation, comprising hydrolysis in 2 wt% dilute H2SO4 catalyst producing LA, furfural, formic acid (FA), via C5/C6 sugar extraction, in plug flow (210-230 °C, 25 bar, 12 s) and continuous stirred tank (195-215 °C, 14 bar, 20 min) reactors; char separation and LA extraction/purification by methyl isobutyl ketone solvent; acid/solvent and by-product recovery. The by-product and pulping effluents are anaerobically digested into biogas and fertiliser. Produced biogas (6.4 MWh/t), RDF (5.4 MWh/t), char (4.5 MWh/t) are combusted, heat recovered into steam generation in boiler (efficiency: 80%); on-site heat/steam demand is met; balance of steam is expanded into electricity in steam turbines (efficiency: 35%).

Novel conceptual MBCT systems for extensive fractionation of urban waste into added value products have been introduced. The study demonstrated that integrated MBCT systems result in the highest economic margin attributed to the revenues from chemical, metal, energy and fertiliser, in decreasing values, respectively. The revenue from resource recovery and product generation (without the inclusion of gate fees) is more than enough to outweigh the waste collection fees, annual capital and operating costs. The work involves process design and integration using yield based and Aspen Plus© simulation models and techno-economic feasibility and sensitivity analyses through a powerful value analysis tool.