Hydrogen from Biomass Gasification for Utilization in Oil Refineries
Preprint, 2012

If taxes fees and other restriction on fossil fuels are not considered the cost for the fuels produced from biomass gasification will still be higher than that of oil-based fuels or natural gas for next decades. Nevertheless, there is room for other application of the biomass gasification followed by gas upgrading rather than fuel production. The proposed idea is a gasification-upgrading process optimized for hydrogen production, intended for the integration in an oil refinery. Driving forces for the introduction of this process are; 1, the dependency of the crude oil price on the sulfur content, 2, making use of low temperature waste heat and 3, the possibility to utilize existing infrastructure to introduce renewable energy sources (RES) in the refinery. The hydrodesulfurization of the refined petroleum products requires pure hydrogen, which is usually obtained from the one contained in the oil itself. Crude oils with unfavorable sulfur to hydrogen ratio have a lower price on the market, but they require extra hydrogen for the desulfurization process. Hence, there is room for introducing an extra source of hydrogen from a RES as biomass. Despite the technological challenge introduction of a new process causes, a high marginal profit can be achieved from the purchase of low price crude oil with high sulfur content. The process proposed in this work is suitable for integration, since it requires mainly low temperature heat (150 °C) which is abundant in an oil refinery and a small amount of electricity. The gasification process could then be seen as a perfect heat sink for low temperature waste heat, which otherwise usually is lost due to heat exchanging with the surrounding air.

catalytic tar reforming


biomass gasification

hydrogen production

oil refinery


Alberto Alamia

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Energiteknik

Henrik Thunman

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Energiteknik

Fredrik Lind

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Energiteknik


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