Impact of choice of CO2 separation technology on thermo-economic performance of Bio-SNG production processes
Journal article, 2014

Three different CO2 separation technologies for production of synthetic natural gas (SNG) from biomass gasification – amine-based absorption, membrane-based separation and pressure swing adsorption – are investigated for their thermo-economic performance against the background of different possible future energy market scenarios. The studied scale of the SNG plant is a thermal input of 100 MWth,LHV to the gasifier at a moisture content of 20 wt-% with a preceding drying step reducing the biomass' natural moisture content of 50 wt-%. Preparation of the CO2-rich stream for carbon capture and storage is investigated for the amine-based absorption and the membrane-based separation technology alternatives. The resulting cold gas efficiency ηcg for the investigated process alternatives ranges between 0.65 and 0.695. The overall system efficiency ηsys ranges from 0.744 to 0.793, depending on both the separation technology and the background energy system. Amine-based absorption gives the highest cold gas efficiency whereas the potential for cogeneration of electricity from the process' excess heat is higher for membrane-based separation and pressure swing adsorption. The estimated specific production costs for SNG cSNG for a process input of 90.3 MWth,LHV at 50 wt-% moisture vary between 103–127 €2010/MWhSNG. The corresponding production subsidy level csubsidy needed to achieve end-user purchase price-parity with fossil natural gas is in the range of 56–78 €2010/MWhSNG depending on both the energy market scenario and the CO2 separation technology. Sensitivity analysis on the influence of changes in the total capital cost for the SNG plant on the production cost indicates a decrease of about 12% assuming a 30% reduction in total capital investment. Capture and storage of biogenic CO2 – if included in the emission trading system – only becomes an option at higher CO2 charges. This is due to increased investment costs but, in particular, due to the rather high costs for CO2 transport and storage that have been assumed in this study.

energy systems



synthetic natural gas


biomass gasification

CO2 separation


Stefan Heyne

Industrial Energy Systems and Technologies

Simon Harvey

Industrial Energy Systems and Technologies

International Journal of Energy Research

0363-907X (ISSN)

Vol. 38 3 299-318

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Chemical Process Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Energy Systems



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