Project Synopsis

Create a simulation model and spread sheet interface tools for a process that produces ethanol from cellulosic feed stocks such as wood and biomass.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a renewable fuels technology development company, to create a simulation for a process that produces cellulosic ethanol from wood chips and biomass using the client’s advanced enzyme fermentation process.  The simulation included heat treatment and feed pretreatment followed by fermentation reactions to convert cellulose to sugars and subsequently convert sugars to ethanol.  The ethanol was purified using distillation.  A waste heat boiler system was simulated to recover heat from the solid waste and steam from the waste heat boiler was either utilized as process steam or fed to turbines to produce power.

Chemstations’ CHEMCAD software was used to develop the simulation flow sheet.  PROCESS developed an MS Excel file with automated Visual Basic programming that extracted process information from the CHEMCAD simulation file.  The Excel file contained the process mass and energy balance tables and customized input/output tables with summary information for key process data.  PROCESS conducted training to allow the client to manipulate the programs and simulation to make future changes.  The Excel/CHEMCAD package was developed to enable the client to evaluate multiple feedstock cases and analyze operating costs for each case.  PROCESS also performed an initial factored capital cost estimate for the process.

Industry Type

  • Alternative Energy

Utilized Skills

  • Process simulation
  • Alternatives energy process design support

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