Exergy-based comparison of indirect and direct biomass gasification technologies within the framework of bio-SNG production
Journal article, 2013
Atmospheric indirect steam-blown and pressurised direct oxygen-blown gasification are the two major technologies discussed for large-scale production of synthetic natural gas from biomass (bio-SNG) by thermochemical conversion. Published system studies of bio-SNG production concepts draw different conclusions about which gasification technology performs best. In this paper, an exergy-based comparison of the two gasification technologies is performed using a simplified gasification reactor model. This approach aims at comparing the two technologies on a common basis without possible bias due to model regression on specific reactor data. The system boundaries include the gasification and gas cleaning step to generate a product gas ready for subsequent synthesis. The major parameter investigated is the delivery pressure of the product gas. Other model parameters include the air-to-fuel ratio for gasification as well as the H2/CO ratio in the product gas. In order to illustrate the thermodynamic limits and sources of efficiency loss, an ideal modelling approach is contrasted with a model accounting for losses in, e.g. the heat recovery and compression operations. The resulting cold-gas efficiencies of the processes are in the range of 0.66–0.84 on a lower heating value basis. Exergy efficiencies for the ideal systems are from 0.79 to 0.84 and in the range of 0.7 to 0.79 for the systems including losses. Pressurised direct gasification benefits from higher delivery pressure of the finished gas product and results in the highest exergy efficiency values. Regarding bio-SNG synthesis however, a higher energetic and exergetic penalty for CO2 removal results in direct gasification exergy efficiency values that are below values for indirect gasification. No significant difference in performance between the technologies can be observed based on the model results, but a challenge identified for process design is efficient heat recovery and cogeneration of electricity for both technologies. Furthermore, direct gasification performance is penalised by incomplete carbon conversion in contrast to performance of indirect gasification concepts.
fluidised bed gasification