Simulation of Plant for the Production of Bio-Fuel via the Pyrolysis of Chlorella vulgaris
This study is focused on the simulation of Chlorella vulgaris (microalgae) pyrolysis plant for the commercial production of biofuel via the use of ASPEN Plus and the techno-economical assessment of the plant capacity. The bubbling fluidized- bed reactor incorporated in the ASPEN Plus was used to pyrolyze microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris) under optimal operating conditions to maximize the yield of bio fuel, bio-char and bio-gas. Simulation results gave optimum yield of 52.40%, 0.18% and 47.45% for biofuel; bio-gas and bio-char respectively. The pyrolysis temperatures, inert gas feed rate and particle size were operating parameters that affected the yield of products. An energy balance analysis was carried out to ascertain the energy consumption of the pyrolysis process and the energy efficiency which is an important factor in determining the performance of the pyrolysis process was found to be 74%. The Fixed Capital Investment as well as the production cost of the commercial scale pyrolysis plant was estimated. The microalgae strain (Chlorella vulgaris) was found to be a promising biomass feed stock due to its high yield in bio-fuel. Using the bubbling fluidized bed reactor which is thus suitable for fast pyrolysis process and the commercial production of biofuel. The challenge of high cost of biofuel production can actually be minimised by increasing the plant capacity as well as the right choice of biomass feed stock.