American Chemical Society

Intensification of the Oligomerization and Hydrogenation Stage for Biojet Fuel Production: Preliminary Outlines

Posted on 2023-05-26 - 13:03
The environmental conditions generated by the consumption of fossil fuels have created a growing interest in alternative energy sources for various sectors of society. In the case of the aviation sector, one solution is biojet fuel as a sustainable fuel for direct application in flights. The alcohol to jet (ATJ) fuel process has high expectations due to its performance and for revalorizing alcohols from fermentation. Starting from ethanol, the ATJ process consists of four stages: dehydration, oligomerization, hydrogenation, and separation. On the other hand, process intensification philosophy promotes process efficiency, reducing the number of equipment used, reducing land use, and combining different phenomenologies. In this sense, this work researches the outlines of implementing intensification ideas to the ATJ process using reactive distillation (RD) to improve the sustainable performance of jet fuel production. Particularly, the oligomerization and hydrogenation stages will be subject to process intensification strategies. Both strategies were evaluated considering various sustainability indicators (global warming potential, mass intensity, energy intensity, economic impact, etc.). The most intensified alternative presented is an RD column with two reactive sections. Once a distillation column with two reactive zones was implemented, an improvement in the return on investment value of close to 50% and a decrease in the total annual cost of close to 90% were observed. The global warming potential value improved by 70%. Likewise, an improvement of close to 30% was observed in efficiency, mass intensity, and thermodynamic efficiency.


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