Biomass & Bioenergy, Vol.34, No.3, 302-311, 2010
The production of synthetic natural gas (SNG): A comparison of three wood gasification systems for energy balance and overall efficiency
The production of Synthetic Natural Gas from biomass (Bio-SNG) by gasification and upgrading of the gas is an attractive option to reduce CO2 emissions and replace declining fossil natural gas reserves. Production of energy from biomass is approximately CO2 neutral. Production of Bio-SNG can even be CO2 negative, since in the final upgrading step, part of the biomass carbon is removed as CO2, which can be stored. The use of biomass for CO2 reduction will increase the biomass demand and therefore will increase the price of biomass. Consequently, a high overall efficiency is a prerequisite for any biomass conversion process. Various biomass gasification technologies are suitable to produce SNG. The present article contains an analysis of the Bio-SNG process efficiency that can be obtained using three different gasification technologies and associated gas cleaning and methanation equipment. These technologies are: 1) Entrained Flow, 2) Circulating Fluidized Bed and 3) Allothermal or Indirect gasification. The aim of this work is to identify the gasification route with the highest process efficiency from biomass to SNG and to quantify the differences in overall efficiency. Aspen Plus (R) was used as modeling tool. The heat and mass balances are based on experimental data from literature and our own experience. Overall efficiency to SNG is highest for Allothermal gasification. The net overall efficiencies on LHV basis, including electricity consumption and pre-treatment but excluding transport of biomass are 54% for Entrained Flow, 58% for CFB and 67% for Allothermal gasification. Because of the significantly higher efficiency to SNG for the route via Allothermal gasification, ECN is working on the further development of Allothermal gasification. ECN has built and tested a 30 kW(th) lab scale gasifier connected to a gas cleaning test rig and methanation unit and presently is building a 0.8 MWth pilot plant, called Milena, which will be connected to the existing pilot scale gas cleaning. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Biomass;Allothermal;Gasification;Twin-bed;Indirect gasification;CFB;Entrained flow;SNG;Bio-SNG;Bio-CNG;Natural gas;Biogas;Aspen plus (R);CCS