Process Control and Optimization

The FCIC Process Control and Optimization project focuses on solving significant industrial feed handling challenges in today’s biorefineries by developing an intelligent control system that automatically adjusts the preprocessing system in response to changes in biomass characteristics. The control system’s ability to adjust equipment instantaneously in response to variability will reduce downtime due to equipment failure and ensure consistent and reliable feedstock bulk solids properties—providing a technical solution for feed handling challenges that have proven problematic in the scale-up and integration of cellulosic ethanol refineries. The Process Control and Optimization project will advance the state-of-the-art of biomass preprocessing and feeding into pressurized reactors in a variety of ways: 

  1. Development of unit operation and integrated system models that expand the technical understanding of biomass preprocessing with application in process engineering of near-term installations and longer-term development of new equipment and systems
  2. Testing and verification of a suite of biomass sensors for process monitoring and control
  3. Determining the dynamic relationship between key process parameters to establish appropriate equipment and process design criteria for achieving reliable operation of integrated systems
  4. Expanded Biomass Feedstock National User Facility (BFNUF) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility and Thermochemical Users Facility collaborations that reduce risk and accelerate industrial commercialization of bioenergy technologies
  5. Demonstration of a robust system capable of being adapted to any number of industrial biomass preprocessing systems to reduce costs and improve reliability and performance compared to current technology. 

Supporting Capabilities and Facilities

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