Research activities

Process development for advanced biofuels production in the context of circular economy

Biogenic fuel components from sources that are not in direct competition with food production (2nd generation biofuels) are becoming more and more important. According to an EU directive, 1% of fossil fuel components must be replaced by such advanced biofuels from 2025, with the substitution rate rising to 3.5% from 2030. However, there are currently no established processes that enable economic production on a large scale to meet the correspondingly high demand. This thesis is embedded in an FFG-Frontrunner project for the development of a production process for propanols from crude glycerol via selective hydrogenation.

The focus of the thesis lies on two process sections: First, the valorization of sidestreams arising from the purification of the crude glycerol prior to the hydrogenation reactor and, second, the purification of the product stream leaving the reactor. Concerning the valorization of sidestreams, different separation options will be assessed with emphasis on the utilization of the components making up these sidestreams, mainly inorganic salts, in the context of a circular economy. Research concerning the treatment of the product stream by extractive purification comprises the search for the optimal solvent for the process, including assessment of intermediate refinery streams as solvents. The applicability of the Taylor-Couette-Disc-Contactor in this process step will also be assessed. Further, the surrogatization of intermediate refinery streams in view of extractive performance will be conducted, since this is a prerequisite for applying rigorous thermodynamics to model the extraction step in commercial process simulators like Aspen Plus.

Maximilian Neubauer
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 4988
Research field

Process Development, Extractive Distillation

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