An activated carbon manufacturing process using winemaking waste is analyzed and designed at industrial scale. Starting from experimental research, the chemical transformations and thermodynamics during pruning wood conversion are studied as a basis for plant design. In this way, mass and energy balances of hydrothermal carbonization and physical activation are fulfilled and a thermoeconomic methodology is applied to develop an energy-integrated plant. To achieve this target, a network of heat exchangers is allocated to minimize heat consumption and supply hot domestic water, while a cogeneration cycle is designed to provide electricity and satisfy the remaining heat demand. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis is carried out to determine the influence of the production scale and other operation parameters, such as annual workload, service life, and capital and feedstock costs, on the economic viability of the plant. The energy balance of the plant indicates that the energy integration design manages to provide 48.9% of the overall process energy demand by crossing hot and cold streams and recovering heat from residual flue gas. On the other hand, the exergy cost analysis identifies the combustion of pruning wood used to provide heat demands as the main source of exergy destruction, confirming the suitability of integration to improve the thermodynamic performance. Including activated carbon production, electricity, and hot domestic water, the exergy efficiency of the plant stands at 11.5%.
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