We discuss how process systems engineering studies can facilitate the development of novel strategies for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. First, we present process synthesis studies for catalytic biomass-to-fuels processes, and illustrate how systems-level analyses can be coupled with experimental heterogeneous catalysis studies to identify promising research directions. Second, we develop a general framework for process synthesis where surrogate unit models for novel technologies are generated using experimental data or offline simulations and employed for the development of integrated processes; we discuss the application of the proposed framework to a number of renewable energy applications. Finally, we present an optimization-based framework for the assessment of biofuel strategies. Specifically, we generate a technology superstructure that consists of a wide range of technologies and formulate optimization models that allow us to: (i) evaluate alternative strategies, (ii) identify the major technological and cost drivers, and (iii) quantify the impact of uncertainty.
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