Lyocell Fibre Production Using NMMO – A Simulation-based Techno-Economic Analysis
Keywords:Lyocell, Textile fibre, NMMO, Modelling, Process simulation, Feasibility, Thermodynamic model
The demand for man-made cellulosic fibres is expected to grow in the future. One commercially-available concept to supply fibres is Lyocell manufacturing from dissolving wood pulps using N-Methylmorpholine N-oxide (NMMO) as the solvent. The literature qualitatively indicates that NMMO recycling efficiency is a key factor for profitable operation. Process design information and parameter data are however poorly available publicly to illustrate the cost factors. Therefore, systematic techno-economic analysis of a 50 kt/year Lyocell plant was conducted using steady-state process simulation and cost modeling. With the simulation models, the underlying technical process design and modelling decisions, and economic assumptions were studied. NMMO makeup need is an important cost item. The simulated makeup need is very dependent on the design of the solvent recovery system and the vapor-liquid equilibrium thermodynamic model selection. On the other hand, water use, fibre washing process design, and washing model parameterization have relatively lower impact on the cost of production. Raw material cost and capital expenses are most critical cost items when the NMMO recycling efficiency is high.