Synthesis and Sustainability Evaluation of a Lignocellulosic Multifeedstock Biorefinery Considering Technical Performance Indicators. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nowadays, green-chemistry principles offer an approach that fits to ensure chemical process sustainability by the use of low-cost renewable raw materials, waste prevention, inherent safer designs, among others. Based on this motivation, this study presents a novel methodology for sustainable process design that comprises the synthesis of a multifeedstock optimal biorefinery under simultaneous optimization of economic and environmental targets and further sustainability evaluation using the sustainability weighted return on investment metric (SWROIM). The first step of the proposed method is the formulation of an optimization model to generate the most suitable process alternatives. The model took into account various biomasses as available raw materials for production of ethanol, butanol, succinic acid, among others. Process technologies such as fermentation, anaerobic digestion, gasification, among others, were considered for biorefinery design. Once the model synthesizes the optimal biorefinery, we used environmental, safety, economic, and energy analyses to assess the process, which is a case study for north Colombia. Process simulation generated the data needed (extended mass and energy balances, property estimation, and modeling of downstream) to develop the process analysis stage via the Aspen Plus software. Results for the environmental and economic analyses showed that the assumption considered to solve the optimization problem was adequate, yielding promising environmental and economic outcomes. Finally, the overall sustainability evaluation showed a SWROIM of 27.29%, indicating that the case study showed higher weighted performance compared to the return on investment (ROI) metric of 14.33%.

published proceedings

  • ACS Omega

author list (cited authors)

  • Meramo-Hurtado, S. I., Sanchez-Tuiran, E., Ponce-Ortega, J. M., El-Halwagi, M. M., & Ojeda-Delgado, K. A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Meramo-Hurtado, Samir I||Sanchez-Tuiran, Eduardo||Ponce-Ortega, José María||El-Halwagi, Mahmoud M||Ojeda-Delgado, Karina Angélica

publication date

  • April 2020