Thermochemical production of liquid fuels from biomass: Thermo-economic modeling, process design and process integration analysis
A detailed thermo-economic model combining thermodynamics with economic analysis and considering different technological alternatives for the thermochemical production of liquid fuels from lignocellulosic biomass is presented. Energetic and economic models for the production of Fischer-Tropsch fuel (FT), methanol (MeOH) and dimethyl ether (DME) by the means of biomass drying with steam or flue gas, directly or indirectly heated fluidized bed or entrained flow gasification, hot or cold gas cleaning, fuel synthesis and upgrading are reviewed and developed. The process is integrated and the optimal utility system is computed. The competitiveness of the different process options is compared systematically with regard to energetic, economic and environmental considerations. At several examples, it is highlighted that process integration is a key element that allows for considerably increasing the performance by optimal utility integration and energy conversion. The performance computations of some exemplary technology scenarios of integrated plants yield overall energy efficiencies of 59.8% (crude FT-fuel), 52.5% (MeOH) and 53.5% (DME), and production costs of 89, 128 and 113 EUR/MWh on fuel basis. The applied process design approach allows to evaluate the economic competitiveness compared to fossil fuels, to study the influence of the biomass and electricity price and to project for different plant capacities. Process integration reveals in particular potential energy savings and waste heat valorization. Based on this work, the most promising options for the polygeneration of fuel, power and heat will be determined in a future thermo-economic optimization.