Applications of Process Synthesis: Moving from Conventional Chemical Processes towards Biorefinery Processes

Zhihong Yuan, Bingzhen Chen, Rafiqul Gani

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Concerns about diminishing petroleum reserves, enhanced worldwide demand for fuels and fluctuations in the global oil market, together with climate change and national security have promoted many initiatives for exploring alternative, non-petroleum based processes. Among these initiatives, biorefinery processes for converting biomass-derived carbohydrates into transportation fuels and chemicals are now gaining more and more attention from both academia and industry. Process synthesis, which has played a vital role for the development, design and operation of (petro) chemical processes, can be predicted to play a significant role in the design and commercialization of sustainable and cost-effective biorefinery processes. The main objective of this perspective paper is to elucidate the potential opportunities that biorenewables processing offers to optimal synthesis; challenges and future directions in this field are also concisely discussed. An attempt is made with this perspective to stimulate more and more efforts to optimally synthesize and design biorenewable conversion process to accelerate the commercialization of the biorefinery technology and further reduce the heavily reliance on petroleum-derive fuels.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers & Chemical Engineering
Pages (from-to)217-229
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Chemical processes
  • Systems engineering
  • Biorenewable processing
  • Process synthesis
  • Design
  • Optimization


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