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Wood2CHem: A computer-aided platform for developing bio-refineries

 

The computer-aided platform Wood2CHem, developed within the scope of this project, will help to identify innovative process concepts for promoting wood as a resource using a holistic and integrated approach.

Project description (completed research project)

Bio-refineries offer the timber industry numerous ways to turn biomass into valuable products. Due to its composition and complex chemical structure, wood can be used to make a large number of value-added products. A great challenge is the design of each bio-refinery. The project aimed to holistically assess, integrate and optimise innovative processes and conversion technologies in different biorefinery system designs. On the basis of this work, promising concepts can be identified.

Background

Wood waste that is produced by forestry operations and the pulp industry can be processed in many different ways. In the main, it can either be burnt or processed for material use. To identify the best bio-refinery design for the available resource, a decision-making tool is needed.

Aim

The team conducting the Wood2CHem project recommends developing a computer-aided platform for systematically generating the most promising bio-refinery concepts and evaluating their thermodynamic, economic and environmental performance. This integrated platform will be developed by combining expertise in chemical engineering and process engineering. It is aimed at integrating all technological developments of wood transformation and will be validated in industrial case studies.

Relevance/application

The project concerns the development of industrial process designs and will therefore primarily interest experts and engineers who wish to develop integrated and innovative concepts for the efficient use of wood. It will allow them to conceptualise and compare integrated process chains. By choosing an approach focusing on design and process, the platform will integrate all the actors aiming for an industrial use of wood in bio-refineries.

Results

To compare various ways of using wood, existing analytic tools were integrated into the computer-aided platform. The project highlights synergies between various processes and makes it possible to compare different process designs. As a result, it shows that uncertainty in the areas of investment costs, product revenue and energy prices influences the design and orientation of bio-refineries.

Original title

Wood2CHem: a computer aided platform to support the optimal implementation of woodbased bio refinery concepts

Project leader

  • Prof. François Maréchal, Industrial Energy Systems Laboratory (LENI), École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
  • Prof. Konrad Hungerbühler, Institut für Chemie- und Bioingenieurwissenschaften, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

 

 

Further information on this content

 Contact

Prof. François Maréchal SCI-STI-FM
Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
EPFL Valais-Wallis
Industrie,17, CP 440 1951 Sion +41 21 693 35 16 francois.marechal@epfl.ch