A multi-objective optimisation including results of life cycle assessment in developing bio-renewables-based processes

27 Jul 2017

A decision support tool has been developed, which uses global multi-objective optimisation based on: (i) the environmental impacts, evaluated within the framework of full life cycle assessment, and (ii) process costs, evaluated using rigorous process models. This approach is particularly useful in developing the bio renewable-based energy solutions and chemicals manufacturing, where multiple criteria must be evaluated and where the optimisation-based decision making process is particularly attractive. The framework is demonstrated using a case study of conversion of terpenes derived from bio-waste feedstocks into reactive intermediates. A two-step chemical conversion/separation sequence was implemented as a rigorous process model and combined with a life cycle model. A life cycle inventory for crude sulfate turpentine was developed, as well as a conceptual process of its separation into pure terpene feedstocks. The performed single- and multi-objective optimisations demonstrate the functionality of the optimisation-based process development and illustrate the approach. Most significant advance is the ability to perform multi-objective global optimisation, resulting in identification of a region of Pareto-optimal solutions.