Biorefinery concepts are currently of high interest for the process industry, particularly the pulp and paper sector. Biorefinery processes allow the conversion of renewable biomass resources to a variety of products including transportation fuels, materials and chemicals. In many cases, electricity and heat are co-produced, thus creating an energy combine. A rapid introduction of biomass-based energy combines presents major challenges for technology development throughout the production chain, from feedstock to final products, and for appropriate integration of the plants in the energy system. Process integration and system analyses will help identify more efficient and profitable processes.
The main research area within the PhD project is to study process integration opportunities in different biomass gasification processes co-located with pulp and paper mills. This will enable possibilities to identify energy saving measures, and efficient integration within the components of and between the base process (e.g. a pulp mill) and the biorefinery process. As an example, different biomass pre-treatment and gasification paths may lead to different process integration alternatives and different biorefinery products.