Techno-economic Analysis of Biomethanol Production from Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME)

This project is investigating the techno-economic aspects of a POME to methanol plant. The environmental impact of the plant is also assessed.

Palm oil mill effluent (POME) which is a major waste from the palm oil industry is a highly potential feedstock in the production of value-added products such as biogas due to its high organic content. Among the processes for value added product converted from POME, the feasibility of conversion of POME to methanol remain unknown. This research aims to investigate the techno-economic potential of POME to methanol process. The environmental impact of this process was assessed based on the carbon dioxide emissions. The results were compared with the methanol production by using different feedstocks. The results showed that the process was technically feasible with a methanol production rate of 296.76 kg/hr obtained from a POME feed rate of 42,674.05 kg/hr. The overall process also indicated total utility consumption of 1,980,000 kWh. Economic viability was also reached with an attractive rate of return of 14.77 % being shown and a payback period of 3.75 years. Furthermore, environmental impacts associated with the process indicate a total of 246.2 kg CO2/hr generated resulting in value of 0.9491 kg CO2 / kg methanol produced. The end result indicated a viable overall process design that is profitable and future work will include conducting sensitivity analysis to analyze fluctuations in methanol price as well as POME compositions and how they impact the viability of the process.

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