Pulp and paper mills represent a major platform to use more effectively an abundant, renewable bio-resource - wood. Modification of the modern day pulp mills into integrated forest biorefineries (IFBR) presents an excellent opportunity to produce, in addition to valuable cellulose fiber, co-products including fuel grade ethanol and additional energy, thus resulting in increased revenue streams and profitability and potentially lower the greenhouse gas emissions. A process model to simulate the integrate forest biorefinery manufacturing pulp and other co-products has been developed. This model has been used to compare three integrated biorefinery scenarios: the conventional Kraft pulping process, the pulp mill-based IFBR with hemicelluloses extraction prior to pulping for ethanol production, and the pulp mill-based IFBR with both pre-extracted hemicelluloses and the short fiber for ethanol production. Based on a fixed feedstock throughput of 2000 dry Mg wood/day, results show that the pulp mill-based IFBR with both pre-extracted hemicelluloses and the short fiber cellulose converted to ethanol can produce 0.038 MM m3 (10.04 MM gal) ethanol per year at a minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) of $491/m3 ($1.86/gal). The economic feasibility of IFBR can be further improved by using further improvements in the pre-extraction process, other biomass such as corn stover for producing ethanol, and taking advantage of the economies of scale.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was carried out with support from the University of Minnesota’s Initiative on Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) ( www.iree.umn.edu ) and the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Grant .
- Hemicelluloses pre-extraction
- Process modeling and analysis
- Pulp and paper