Energy, Vol.36, No.6, 3825-3837, 2011
Exergy analysis of biomass-to-synthetic natural gas (SNG) process via indirect gasification of various biomass feedstock
This paper presents an exergy analysis of SNG production via indirect gasification of various biomass feedstock, including virgin (woody) biomass as well as waste biomass (municipal solid waste and sludge). In indirect gasification heat needed for endothermic gasification reactions is produced by burning char in a separate combustion section of the gasifier and subsequently the heat is transferred to the gasification section. The advantages of indirect gasification are no syngas dilution with nitrogen and no external heat source required. The production process involves several process units, including biomass gasification, syngas cooler, cleaning and compression, methanation reactors and SNG conditioning. The process is simulated with a computer model using the flow-sheeting program Aspen Plus. The exergy analysis is performed for various operating conditions such as gasifier pressure, methanation pressure and temperature. The largest internal exergy losses occur in the gasifier followed by methanation and SNG conditioning. It is shown that exergetic efficiency of biomass-to-SNG process for woody biomass is higher than that for waste biomass. The exergetic efficiency for all biomass feedstock increases with gasification pressure, whereas the effects of methanation pressure and temperature are opposite for treated wood and waste biomass. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.