Gasification based synchronized production of fuels and electricity from woody biomass: A techno-economic analysis
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Gasification system for the production of liquid fuels via Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis and the generation of hydrogen from woody biomass are evaluated, with electricity as a critical by-product. An overview of mass and energy conversion are provided for biomass to liquid fuel (BTL) and hydrogen production. The cost analysis is based on annualized life cycle of systems that include oxygen-steam biomass gasifier coupled to FT unit and an alternative process of gasification system coupled to a H2 separation unit. For production of liquid fuels, downdraft gasifier is operated at an equivalence ratio of 0.1 and steam-to-biomass (SBR) ratio of 0.85 yielding syngas with H2/CO=2.1:1. Overall mass and energy balance for FT synthesis are considered for novel cobalt catalysts that predominantly yield liquid hydrocarbons and waxes. For once-through FT synthesis, the study proposes utilizing product gas (C1-C5 hydrocarbons and unconverted syngas) in IC engine for co-producing electricity. Furthermore, economics of H2 production are analyzed for SBR of 0.85 and 1.5. The analysis shows that 100 kg/h biomass throughput can yield H2 at a price ranging from 4.97 to 5.5 Euros/kg and liquid fuel ranging from 0.9-1.2 €/liter. Detailed cost estimates of each design are established for sustainable BTL and H2 production.