Nowadays, organizations and companies pay special attention to the techno-economic assessments (TEA) or, what is the same, the analysis of the economic performance of an industrial process, product, or service.
This is why CENER is deeply focused in the techno-economic assessments of bio-based products and their value chains. On the one side, providing direct support to the agri-food, waste management, petrochemicals, or agrochemicals industries, among others. And on the other side evaluating the technologies developed for the production of advanced biofuels, SAF, biodegradable and compostable biopolymers or agrobiologicals, etc, in the framework of European (SCALIBUR, CLARA,) and National (IMPRIMED, HYDROSAF, e-biomethanol) collaborative projects.
At present, TEA is the most commonly methodology used to analyse technologies in the chemical, bioprocess, petroleum, energy, and similar industries. TEA can be used for studying new technologies or optimizing existing ones. Ideally, a techno-economic model represents the best current understanding of the system being modelled in order to anticipate whether a process will be sufficiently profitable under a certain set of assumptions, to identify R&D targets with the greatest potential to improve profitability and help companies bring their technologies to market more efficiently.
With the main objective of assessing the TEAs of bio-based products and their value chains, and thus support industries on their way to environmental transparency, CENER (National Renewable Energy Centre) is applying a comprehensive analysis methodology, based on science and its experience in this field.
CENER understands the techno-economic assessment as a cost-benefit comparison methodology using different methods and tools, in order to evaluate the costs, benefits, risks, uncertainties, and timeframes of a certain bio-based process and products. These assessments are used for tasks such as the following, among others:
- Evaluate the economic feasibility of a specific project, bioproduct, or bio-based process
- Investigate cash flows over the lifetime
- Evaluate the cost performance of different process scales.
- Compare different technology applications.
CENER uses Superpro Designer simulation tool for modelling and developing techno-economic assessments of bio-based processes and bio-based products. This tool enables and facilitates modeling, evaluation and optimization of integrated processes in a wide range of industries and applications. By combining models and operations in the same package, allows the user to simultaneously design and evaluate different manufacturing processes. Indeed, it can be used and is used by to model and evaluate a wide variety of chemical, biochemical and related processes. In further detail, the comprehensive process modeling functionalities include:
- Generation of full material and energy balances for integrated processes.
- Calculation of amounts and compositions for all waste streams, including VOC emissions.
- Demand profiles for resources such as labor, raw materials, utilities, etc.
- Gantt charts and equipment occupancy charts for batch processes.
- Equipment sizing.
- Thorough cost analysis, including estimation of equipment cost, capital investment and operating costs with detailed breakdowns for cost of materials, labor, consumables, utilities, waste treatment, and other operating costs.
- SuperPro’s reports, charts, and scaling features also provide users with the necessary tools to perform cycle time analysis and debottlenecking as well as process scaling to fit specific equipment trains.
Finally, the outputs from the model, as well as the model itself, provide a platform for technology transfer from development to manufacturing groups or to different sites.
This is a valuable tool for CENER and in particular for R&D projects, in process development, process engineering, and manufacturing. On that sense, by a comprehensive assessment CENER provides mass and energy balances as well as economic project evaluations. SuperPro Designer performs thorough Cost Analysis and Project Economic Evaluation calculations and generates economical pertinent reports. The list of calculated items includes, among others, equipment purchase cost, fixed capital investment, operating cost, profitability analysis, cash flow analysis, breakdowns, and sensitivity analysis studies.