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Bioresour Technol. 2013 May;135:316-23. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.09.109. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

Butanol production in a first-generation Brazilian sugarcane biorefinery: technical aspects and economics of greenfield projects.

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Laboratory of Optimization, Design and Advanced Control (LOPCA), School of Chemical Engineering, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Av. Albert Einstein 500, CEP 13083-852 Campinas, SP, Brazil.


The techno-economics of greenfield projects of a first-generation sugarcane biorefinery aimed to produce ethanol, sugar, power, and n-butanol was conducted taking into account different butanol fermentation technologies (regular microorganism and mutant strain with improved butanol yield) and market scenarios (chemicals and automotive fuel). The complete sugarcane biorefinery with the batch acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation process was simulated using Aspen PlusĀ®. The biorefinery was designed to process 2 million tonne sugarcane per year and utilize 25%, 50%, and 25% of the available sugarcane juice to produce sugar, ethanol, and butanol, respectively. The investment on a biorefinery with butanol production showed to be more attractive [14.8% IRR, P(IRR>12%)=0.99] than the conventional 50:50 (ethanol:sugar) annexed plant [13.3% IRR, P(IRR>12%)=0.80] only in the case butanol is produced by an improved microorganism and traded as a chemical.

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