Techno-economic assessment of fast pyrolysis for the valorization of short rotation coppice cultivated for phytoextraction
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
Science citation index
Journal of cleaner production / Masson. - Science citation index
, p. 336-344
The main barrier in the commercialization of phytoextraction as a sustainable alternative for remediating metal contaminated soils is its long time period, which can be countered by biomass valorization. From an environmental point of view, fast pyrolysis of the biomass is promising because its lower process temperature prevents metal volatilization. The remaining question is whether fast pyrolysis is also preferred from an economic point of view. Therefore, a techno-economic assessment of fast pyrolysis has been performed for a case study in the Campine region in Belgium. For this region, willow trees cultivated in short rotation have the right characteristics to serve as a phytoextracting crop. A techno-economic assessment requires by definition a multidisciplinary approach. The problem statement urges for a focus on the economic profitability from the viewpoint of an investor, including economic risk analysis. Fast pyrolysis seems more profitable than gasification. The profit is dependent on the scale of operation, the policy support (subsidies) and the oil yield. The economic risk can be reduced by increasing the scale of operation by means of complementing feedstocks, and by valorization of the char byproduct by subsequent processing to activated carbon. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.