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Process simulation and techno-economic analysis of bio-jet fuel and green diesel production — Minimum selling prices

Highlights•Simulation approach considering reaction scheme, experimental data and jet fuel property.•Minimum selling prices are estimated and Montecarlo simulations assess uncertainty.•A 11.9 million L/y bio-jet fuel plant can be profitable if minimum bio-jet fuel price is 1.35 US$/L.•A 10 million L/y green diesel plant can be profitable if minimum green diesel price is 1 US$/L.•Green diesel is competitive with fossil fuel while bio-jet fuel process offers flexible product portfolio.AbstractThe simulation and techno-economic analysis for the production of bio-jet fuel and green diesel from hydrotreatment of vegetable oil is presented in this paper. Monte Carlo simulations are carried out to find the minimum selling price that allow the processes coping with uncertainty in capital investment, feedstock and product prices. The green diesel production involved hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of vegetable oil, producing propane as a co-product. The bio-jet fuel process involved HDO and isomerisation/hydrocracking to yield bio-jet, green diesel, naphtha, and propane. Based on a proposed reaction scheme and model, the reaction conversions for the isomerisation/hydrocracking reactor are estimated considering constraints in observed bio-jet fuel composition and freezing point. The simulation and analyses were carried out in SuperPro Designer®, linked to Excel Visual Basic for Applications to perform Montecarlo simulations and obtain robust estimations of minimum selling price (MSP). The results showed that a 75 thousand barrels/y bio-jet fuel plant can be profitable, but a MSP of 1.35 US$/L is required to lower the risk of failure due to uncertainty. In the case of the green diesel, for a 63 thousand barrels/y production plant, the required MSP is 1 US$/L. Bio-jet fuel would need incentives or subsidies while the green diesel can be competitive with current fossil diesel prices. Therefore, under current price trends, green diesel production would be a more viable investment. However, bio-jet fuel production benefits from multi-fuel production and if large plant sizes and lower feedstock prices can be obtained, the risks can be mitigated.

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