Levulinic acid (LA) is a valuable platform chemical upon which biorefining strategies for the production of chemicals, fuels and power can be established. Herein, we report the results of process synthesis and technoeconomic analysis studies for the conversion of lignocellulose derived LA to liquid fuels through the intermediate formation of levulinate esters. In this strategy, esterification of levulinic and formic acids with alkenes (i.e., butene) produces hydrophobic esters, which extract the unconverted LA from the aqueous sulfuric acid solution. Following the γ-valerolactone (GVL) production from LA and levulinate esters, GVL is converted to butene, hence providing the butene required for esterification and butene oligomers. The minimum selling price of butene oligomers from a 1365 dry tons per day of loblolly pine processing facility is calculated to be $4.92 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. Our analysis shows that the biomass feedstock price is the main cost driver.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry