Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Academic Year 2017/18
Sustainable use of biomasses for energy
Master of science-level of the Bologna process in Chemical And Sustainable Processes Engineering - Torino
Master of science-level of the Bologna process in Energy And Nuclear Engineering - Torino
Teacher Status SSD Les Ex Lab Tut Years teaching
Pirone Raffaele ORARIO RICEVIMENTO PO ING-IND/27 48 12 0 0 8
SSD CFU Activities Area context
ING-IND/27 6 D - A scelta dello studente A scelta dello studente
Subject fundamentals
The module covers an emerging field of modern process engineering, both energetic and chemical, centered on the critical and innovative review of industrial chemistry processes aimed not only to reduce the impact on human health and the environment of new products and processes, but with even more emphasis to "rethink" the process and the technology in order to be intrinsically sustainable, especially from the point of view of raw materials (necessarily renewable). The lessons aim to give an overview of the most innovative processes currently employed or in an advanced phase of development, for the "sustainable" exploitation of natural and vegetal resources (and therefore renewable) for the production of energy in different scale and typology. They also intend to provide engineering knowledge (guidelines and scientific tools) to measure and increase the "sustainability" of a process or a product.
Expected learning outcomes
The module is at the end of the Msc programs of chemical and energy engineer and has the ambition to provide some insights into the industrial processes of biomass treatment aiming to generate energy. However, the main result to be pursued is not only related to the acquisition of such skills, but also and above all to the completion of the process engineer training by applying the skills acquired in other modules in the course of the studies and declining in a "quantitative manner" the concept of sustainability of the proposed process approaches. The lessons in fact treats practical problems and examples that follow the brief basic concepts illustrated; in such problems, the engineering approach that recalls broad spectrum skills that is supposed the students possess must serve to provide effective responses to the practicality and feasibility of the process solutions analyzed. Some lessons on product and process life cycle analysis (LCA) have this type of function: they must try to add concreteness to the theoretical approach and exercise with realistic problems where engineering calculations have to be made. Through the attendance of lessons, the student will have to acquire:
- the in-depth knowledge of the nature and chemical composition and the consequent reactivity of a series of materials of vegetable origin of potential interest for energy purposes;
- the ability to understand the various aspects of a chemical-physical process for the transformation of biomass into energy (thermodynamics, kinetics, type of reactors, operating conditions, process schemes, safety, environmental and economic aspects) and how their concurrence determine the industrial performance;
- the ability to solve calculation problems related to balance and material and energy balance relating to biomass processing processes;
- the ability to properly declare the concept of sustainability of an energy production process by analyzing all stages of the life cycle of raw material and products and processes transformation into energy.
Prerequisites / Assumed knowledge
The student who accesses this module must know about general chemistry, in particular the concepts of chemical equilibrium, simple and complex stoichiometry, thermodynamics and heat and mass transport phenomena. It is desirable for the student to have some rudiments of chemical kinetics. It must master the balance of mass and energy on closed and flow systems. He has to know the thermal machines (pumps, compressors, turbines, etc.) and principles underlying the processes of energy transformation in its various forms.

It is desirable to know that you can search bibliographic sources in English.
The oil era (resources, exploitation, problems). The Age of Sustainability.
Raw materials and energy. Biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels. Chemical composition of traditional fuels and biomass. Calorific value. Exploitation of resources for energy purposes. Role of catalysis and biocatalysis.
Agricultural and forest biomass; Organic waste; Cultures of photosynthetic micro-organisms (microalgae, cyanobacteria) and photobioreactors such as energy producers.
Sustainable industrial process applications (biorephinery): production of bioethanol, bio-oil; Biodiesel and biogas from biomass of different nature (lignocellulosic, sugary, oleaginous).
"Hot" conversion processes and plants: combustion, gasification and pyrolysis.
"Cold" conversion processes and plants: fermentation and anaerobic digestion; Biodiesel production process for transesterification of vegetable oils.
Analysis and evaluation of energy expense in plant engineering associated with processes. Definition of energy sustainability parameters and their use: ESI (Energy Sustainability Index) and EROI (Energy Return On Investment).
Life cycle analysis (LCA) and energy sustainability. Technical-economic criteria for the correct analysis of feasibility of innovative processes. The energy balance over the whole cycle of biomass energy production, and the assessment of associated fossil and renewable CO2.
Exercises: Mass and Energy Balances on Process Schemes. LCA of products and/or processes: case studies of peculiar issues in the energy field in the exploitation of biomass. Quantitative evaluations.
Delivery modes
Classroom lessons have a large component of numerical exercises (approximately 30% of the total) in addition to the theoretical lessons, which illustrate the concepts and notions associated with the proposed processes for biomass exploitation. Classroom exercises concern to the resolution of problems related to thermodynamic equilibria or flow balances, proposed as exemplifications and applications of the theoretical discussed subjects. Similarly, the calculation exercises relating to the balance of mass and energy are carried out. The problems discussed in classroom exercises are similar to those proposed in the final exam. They involve the most important processes in the field of energy transformation and relate to quantitative analyzes of the major and most significant parameters. Classroom attendance is strongly recommended but not mandatory.
Texts, readings, handouts and other learning resources
Since the module deals with a synthesis of chosen topics on the subject of biomass exploitation, a special educational material has been developed and made available to students through the teaching portal. Likewise, exercises and topics dealt with in classroom exercises are available, useful for the preparation of the exam.
For further information please note the following texts:
Tracy C. Williamson, Green Chemistry: Frontiers in Benign Chemical Synthesies and Processes by Paul Anastas Ed, October 1998, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 019850170
John C. Warner, Green Chemisry: Theory and Practice, Paul Anastas Ed., Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN: 0198606988
Stephen C., Garrett R.L., Designing safer chemicals: green Chemistry for Pollution Prevention, American Chemical Society, Washington D.C., 1996, ISBN 0-8412-3443-4
Tundo P., Anastas P.T., Green chemistry: challenging perspectives, Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-19-850455-1
E.S. Stevens, Green Plastics: An Introduction to the New Science of Biodegradable Plastics.
Wool R., Sun X.-S., Biobased Polymers and Composites, Elsevier, August 2005, ISBN 0127639527
J.A. Moulijn, M. Makkee, A. Van Diepen, Chemical Process Technology, Ed. Wiley, Chichester, UK, 2001.
Assessment and grading criteria
The exam consists of a written test: a computational problem that analyzes the sustainability of an innovative type of process, usually related to the exploitation of renewable resources, accompanied by some descriptive or theoretical question about process sustainability fundamentals. During the exam, it is allowed to consult books, dispensations, manuals, and similar material, but "manuscript" notes (only "printed" material is permitted); It is the goal of the written test to evaluate the ability to perform application calculations in "open" contexts, ie when not all state variables are fixed, and decision-making options are given to the student (on the basis of the concepts learned on specific real processes). The exam lasts two hours.
The vote of the written exam ranges from 18/30 to 30/30, and, in general, is the overall student's final grade. At his request, an optional oral examination may be added to the written test, in which one question about some notion learned during the lessons is asked, with the aim of completing the acquired grade (+/- 2 points on the vote matured with written test).

Programma definitivo per l'A.A.2017/18

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