Renewable and Sustainable Biofuel Production: Technical, Economic and Environmental Aspects

A special issue of Fuels (ISSN 2673-3994).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 17567

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Brunel University London, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK
2. Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK
Interests: biofuel production; biorefinery; resource recovery; sustainable resource and waste management; biomass and waste valorization; techno-economic assessment; life cycle assessment; process integration; systems engineering; circular economy

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Guest Editor
School of Engineering and Technology, Sunway University, No. 5, Jalan Universiti, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya 47500, Malaysia
Interests: process integration and optimisation; value chain optimisation; net zero; biorefinery and biomass processing; pinch analysis, circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Interests: biorefinery; biofuel processing; bioenergy and biomass; waste valorisation; process intensification and integration; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is an urgent need to limit the global temperature rise by 1.5°C and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. At present, transportation fuel production heavily relies on fossil fuels, with severe environmental impacts. Transitioning from a fossil-based economy to a more sustainable, renewable and circular economy is therefore a crucial step. However, this is not a straightforward process, as there are a number of challenges that must first be addressed, such as the availability of feedstock, robustness of the conversion and pollution mitigation technologies and sustainability performance of the integrated system. This Special Issue invites original research papers and review papers focusing on the valorisation of biomass and waste into biofuel that can then be used for road transportation and aviation fuels.

We are looking for contributions in the following areas:

  • Technologies: novel/emerging technologies including but not limited to thermochemical, biochemical and (photo)electrochemical conversion.
  • Tools/methods: multi-/interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Both computational modelling and experimental studies are welcome and should demonstrate a holistic assessment in terms of technical, economic and environmental dimensions. We also encourage research that demonstrates resource efficiency enhancement through process integration and intensification strategies. Studies based on purely experimental research without a holistic assessment are not within the scope of this Special Issue.
  • Sustainability analysis: techno-economic analysis, life cycle assessment (LCA) and any other assessments of the novel/emerging production technologies will be considered.
  • Case studies: local/regional/national/international case studies; small/large-scale systems; and policy recommendations are also welcome.

Dr. Kok Siew Ng
Prof. Dr. Denny K. S. Ng
Dr. Anh N. Phan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fuels is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • renewable energy
  • waste valorization
  • biofuel
  • hydrogen production
  • biorefinery
  • resource recovery
  • sustainability assessments

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 3710 KiB  
Article
Effect of Firewood Moisture Content on Quality, Yield, and Economic Gain during Charcoal Production in a Modified Half-Orange Kiln
by Juan García-Quezada, Ricardo Musule-Lagunes, Christian Wehenkel, José Angel Prieto-Ruíz, Víctor Núñez-Retana and Artemio Carrillo-Parra
Fuels 2024, 5(1), 1-16; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels5010001 - 25 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
Tropical firewood species are of foremost importance for charcoal production worldwide. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the moisture content of tropical fuelwood on charcoal production in modified Argentinean half-orange kilns in terms of yield, quality, and economic [...] Read more.
Tropical firewood species are of foremost importance for charcoal production worldwide. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the moisture content of tropical fuelwood on charcoal production in modified Argentinean half-orange kilns in terms of yield, quality, and economic viability. Ten tropical species from the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, were selected for charcoal production. The data were analyzed using a completely randomized design. The moisture content of the firewood was 48.99–79.31%. Temperatures close to 500 °C were obtained in the three kilns, as well as production yields of 28% with a consumption of 6.4 m3 of firewood and 38% with a consumption of 4.5–5 m3. Charcoal moisture values of less than 8%, volatile material of 20–30%, ash < 8%, fixed carbon of 60–70%, and higher heating values of 28–30 MJ kg−1 were obtained. Burn I obtained the highest energy yield of 54%, with a production of 20.87 MWh of charcoal recovered. The production cost of the kiln for the producer is USD 0.00825 (MXN 0.16) per MJ. Full article
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19 pages, 5464 KiB  
Article
Green Fleet: A Prototype Biogas and Hydrogen Refueling Management System for Private Fleet Stations
by Antonio Martín-Márquez, José Francisco Rangel-Serrano, José Manuel Oyola-González, Adrian Talegón-Vázquez, Mario Garrido, Rodrigo García-Velayos, Carla Patricia García-Heras, David Bolonio and Marcelo F. Ortega-Romero
Fuels 2023, 4(3), 314-332; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels4030020 - 2 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1307
Abstract
Biogas and hydrogen (H2) are breaking through as alternative energy sources in road transport, specifically for heavy-duty vehicles. Until a public network of service stations is deployed for such vehicles, the owners of large fleets will need to build and manage [...] Read more.
Biogas and hydrogen (H2) are breaking through as alternative energy sources in road transport, specifically for heavy-duty vehicles. Until a public network of service stations is deployed for such vehicles, the owners of large fleets will need to build and manage their own refueling facilities. Fleet refueling management and remote monitoring at these sites will become key business needs. This article describes the construction of a prototype system capable of solving those needs. During the design and development process of the prototype, the standard industry protocols involved in these installations have been considered, and the latest expertise in information technology systems has been applied. This prototype has been essential to determine the Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities and Risks (SCOR) of such a system, which is the first step of a more ambitious project. A second stage will involve setting up a pilot study and developing a commercial system that can be widely installed to provide a real solution for the industry. Full article
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22 pages, 2380 KiB  
Article
Aspen Plus® Modeling and Simulation of an Industrial Biomass Direct Liquefaction Process
by Duarte M. Cecílio, J. Ricardo M. Gonçalves, Maria Joana Neiva Correia and Maria Margarida Mateus
Fuels 2023, 4(2), 221-242; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels4020014 - 26 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 5128
Abstract
The current energy and climate crisis calls for immediate action in replacing fossil fuels with those derived from renewable sources. The Energreen process performs the direct liquefaction of biomass to produce a liquid biofuel for the cement industry and an aqueous solution of [...] Read more.
The current energy and climate crisis calls for immediate action in replacing fossil fuels with those derived from renewable sources. The Energreen process performs the direct liquefaction of biomass to produce a liquid biofuel for the cement industry and an aqueous solution of added-value compounds for further processing. The present work details the development of an Aspen Plus® model to simulate this biomass liquefaction process. The proposed model describes the Energreen liquefaction process using simplified reaction kinetics and thermodynamic models. The model was validated using data from a real liquefaction pilot plant with a deviation of 6.4%. The simulation, conducted with several biomass samples of variable compositions, showed that the process is robust enough to deal with different compositions and, due to the substitution of the fossil fuels presently used in the cement plant, it will allow savings of up to USD 102,000 per year to be achieved. Several analyses of the sensitivity of the results to the process variables were performed and it was possible to identify the reactor temperature and the reaction activation energy as the most impactful parameters on the process output. Overall, the results allow us to conclude that the proposed model is a solid framework for the optimization of industrial liquefaction processes. Full article
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17 pages, 2149 KiB  
Article
Process Simulation and Design Considerations for Biodiesel Production from Rubber Seed Oil
by Dhyna Analyes Trirahayu, Akhmad Zainal Abidin, Ridwan P. Putra, Achmad Syarif Hidayat, Erwina Safitri and Muhammad Iqbal Perdana
Fuels 2022, 3(4), 563-579; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels3040034 - 27 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4114
Abstract
Indonesia is one of the largest rubber producers worldwide. However, rubber seeds still garner less attention due to their low economic value. In fact, the rubber seeds contain 40–50% (w/w) of rubber seed oil (RSO), which is a potential candidate to [...] Read more.
Indonesia is one of the largest rubber producers worldwide. However, rubber seeds still garner less attention due to their low economic value. In fact, the rubber seeds contain 40–50% (w/w) of rubber seed oil (RSO), which is a potential candidate to be used as a feedstock in biodiesel production. In this regard, this study aims to model and simulate the production process of biodiesel from RSO via transesterification reaction, employing methanol and heterogeneous catalyst. The simulation was performed using ASPEN Hysys v11. Acid-based catalyzed esterification was implemented to eliminate soap formation, which may significantly lower biodiesel yield. The results showed that an RSO inlet rate of 1100 L/h with a methanol to oil molar ratio of 1:6 could generate around 1146 L/h biodiesel. Methanol recovery was conducted, an approximately 95% of excess methanol could be regenerated. Simulation results indicated that the properties of the biodiesel produced are compatible with modern diesel engines. Economic analysis also shows that this technology is promising, with excellent investment criteria. Full article
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13 pages, 1322 KiB  
Article
Modelling of an Anaerobic Digester: Identification of the Main Parameters Influencing the Production of Methane Using the Sobol Method
by Andres Martinez, Lamiae Vernieres-Hassimi, Lokmane Abdelouahed, Bechara Taouk, Chetna Mohabeer and Lionel Estel
Fuels 2022, 3(3), 436-448; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels3030027 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1879
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion is a promising method of organic waste valorisation, particularly for fish farm waste, which has experienced a high growth rate in recent years. The literature contains predictive mathematical models that have been developed by various authors, allowing the prediction of the [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion is a promising method of organic waste valorisation, particularly for fish farm waste, which has experienced a high growth rate in recent years. The literature contains predictive mathematical models that have been developed by various authors, allowing the prediction of the composition of bio-gas production from organic waste. In general, Monod’s kinetic expression is the basis for describing the enzymatic reaction rates for anaerobic digestion. In this work, several parameters are taken into account, such as temperature, cell growth inhibition, and other operating parameters, and systems of differential equations coupling the kinetics and stoichiometry for bio-reactions are applied to better describe the dynamics. Because of the high number of initial parameters that need to be defined for the anaerobic digester, the use of this model requires significant resources and a long calculation time. For this reason, a global sensitivity analysis (GSA) is applied to this predictive model based on the Sobol index method, in order to identify the most influential key parameters and the interactions between them. For the digestion of fish waste, it is observed that the key parameters influencing methane production are the lipid concentration of the waste, temperature, and hydraulic retention time (HRT). Full article
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16 pages, 1456 KiB  
Article
Co-Solvent Assisted Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algal Biomass and Biocrude Upgrading
by Umakanta Jena, Blessing E. Eboibi and K. C. Das
Fuels 2022, 3(2), 326-341; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels3020020 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2872
Abstract
This study reports the hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of microalgae Spirulina platenesis in the presence of alcohol or formic acid co-solvents. HTL runs are performed in a 1.8-L batch reactor at 300 °C using an alcohol (methanol and ethanol) or formic acid co-solvent. Consequently, [...] Read more.
This study reports the hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of microalgae Spirulina platenesis in the presence of alcohol or formic acid co-solvents. HTL runs are performed in a 1.8-L batch reactor at 300 °C using an alcohol (methanol and ethanol) or formic acid co-solvent. Consequently, hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of resultant algal biocrude is performed at 350 °C for 2 h under high hydrogen pressure (~725 psi) using the Ru/C catalyst. The HTL results are compared with the control HTL run performed in water only. The results of the study show that the addition of co-solvents leads to a 30–63% increased biocrude yield over the control HTL run. Formic acid results in a 59.0% yield of biocrude, the highest amongst all co-solvents tested. Resultant biocrudes from formic acid-assisted and ethanol-assisted HTL runs have 21.6% and 3.8–11.0% higher energy content, respectively, than that of the control run. However, that of the methanol-assisted HTL results in biocrude with 4.2–9.0% lower energy density. Viscosity of biocrude from methanol- or ethanol-assisted HTL is higher than the control HTL but formic acid-assisted HTL results in a less viscous biocrude product. In addition, the HDO study leads to a 40.6% yield of upgraded oil, which is characterized by a higher net energy content and lower O/C and N/C ratios when compared to the initial HTL biocrude. Full article
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