Carnegie Mellon University
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Energy and Water Optimization in Biofuel Plants

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-06-01, 00:00 authored by Ignacio E. Grossmann, Mariano Martin

In this paper we address the topic of energy and water optimization in the production of bioethanol from corn and switchgrass. We show that in order for these manufacturing processes to be attractive, there is a need to go beyond traditional heat integration and water recycling techniques. Thus, we propose a strategy based on mathematical programming techniques to model and optimize the structure of the processes, and perform heat integration including the use of multi-effect distillation columns and integrated water networks to show that the energy efficiency and water consumption in bioethanol plants can be significantly improved. Specifically, under some circumstances energy can even be produced and the water consumption can be reduced below the values required for the production of gasoline.


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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version is available at



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