Production of high-value bio-based products from sugar cane bioethanol industry solid and liquid wastes by low energy electrochemical treatment of effluents and pyrolysis of lignocellulosic materials using thermomagnetic catalysts

Publishable summary: 

A project is proposed, to evaluate the technical feasibility, and the economic, environmental and social sustainability of a process to produce high value biochemical products from sugar cane bioethanol industry solid and liquid wastes, involving effluents and solids pretreatment stages, followed by pyrolysis and biooil fractionation. The process to be evaluated includes: a) a waste liquids and solid feedstocks processing subsystem where wastewater is passed through a low energy electrochemical process, liquid can be recycled into the industrial processes and the residual sludge is mixed with other lignocellulosic materials and preconditioned for pyrolysis, b) a conversion and products finishing subsystem where the preconditioned feedstock materials are sent to a pyrolysis reactor, where the temperature is finely controlled by hermomagnetic materials heated by an induction field, and c) a utilities subsystem where heat and power are generated to make the entire process self-sufficient and zero waste.

The specific objectives of the project are to: a) characterize different effluents and wastes found in the bioethanol industry in the Cauca Valley, Colombia, b) measure operational variables, characterize the products obtained by treating said effluents using a low energy electrochemical process, c) measure operational variables, and characterize the reaction products when processing cellulosic material mixed with materials from the previous process, through both a conventional pyrolysis, and a modified pyrolysis where the bed is comprised of thermomagnetic particles subject to an induction field, d) conceptualize a selfsufficient process integrating the waste feedstock processing and conversion subsystems with heat and power generation, and other utility subsystems, and e) evaluate the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the process.

The expected results are: a) a technically feasible, innovative process to obtain biochemical from sugar industry waste solids and liquids, b) an assessment of the economic, environmental and social sustainability of said process, c) a potentially innovative technique to produce a thermomagnetic catalyst to be used for biomass pyrolysis with potential other applications, d) expansion of knowledge in the fields of: agroindustrial effluents treatment and waste valorisation, biomass pyrolysis, catalysis, e) a project concept that can be used to conduct pilot testing, and commercial implementation, on future stages.