A dry-grind ethanol from corn process analysis is performed. After defining a complete model of the process, a pinch technology analysis is carried out to optimise energy and water demands. The so-defined base case is then discussed in terms of production costs and process profitability. A detailed sensitivity analysis on the most important process and financial variables is carried out. The possibility to adopt different alternatives for heat and power generation combined to the process is evaluated.
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The important key technologies required for the successful biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol have been extensively reviewed. The biological process of ethanol fuel production utilizing lignocellulose as substrate requires: (1) delignification to liberate cellulose and hemicellulose from their complex with lignin, (2) depolymerization of the carbohydrate polymers (cellulose and hemicellulose) to produce free sugars, and (3) fermentation of mixed hexose and pentose sugars to produce ethanol.