Comparative Techno-Economic Analysis and Process Design for Indirect Liquefaction Pathways to Distillate-Range Fuels via Biomass-Derived Oxygenated Intermediates Upgrading

Eric Tan, Michael Talmadge, Abhijit Dutta, Ling Tao, Lesley Snowden-Swan, Susanne Jones, Karthikeyan Ramasamy, Michel Gray, Robert Dagle, Asanga Padmaperuma, Mark Gerber, Asad Sahir, Yanan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus Citations

Abstract

This paper presents a comparative techno-economic analysis (TEA) of five conversion pathways from biomass to gasoline-, jet-, and diesel-range hydrocarbons via indirect liquefaction with a specific focus on pathways utilizing oxygenated intermediates. The four emerging pathways of interest are compared with one conventional pathway (Fischer-Tropsch) for the production of the hydrocarbon blendstocks. The processing steps of the four emerging pathways include biomass-to-syngas via indirect gasification, syngas clean-up, conversion of syngas to alcohols/oxygenates followed by conversion of alcohols/oxygenates to hydrocarbon blendstocks via dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation. Conversion of biomass-derived syngas to oxygenated intermediates occurs via three different pathways, producing: (i) mixed alcohols over a MoS2catalyst, (ii) mixed oxygenates (a mixture of C2+oxygenated compounds, predominantly ethanol, acetic acid, acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate) using an Rh-based catalyst, and (iii) ethanol from syngas fermentation. This is followed by the conversion of oxygenates/alcohols to fuel-range olefins in two approaches: (i) mixed alcohols/ethanol to 1-butanol rich mixture via Guerbet reaction, followed by alcohol dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation, and (ii) mixed oxygenates/ethanol to isobutene rich mixture and followed by oligomerization and hydrogenation. The design features a processing capacity of 2000 tonnes/day (2205 short tons) of dry biomass. The minimum fuel selling prices (MFSPs) for the four developing pathways range from $3.40 to $5.04 per gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE), in 2011 US dollars. Sensitivity studies show that MFSPs can be improved with co-product credits and are comparable to the commercial Fischer-Tropsch benchmark ($3.58/GGE). Overall, this comparative TEA study documents potential economics for the developmental biofuel pathways via mixed oxygenates.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)41-66
Number of pages26
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-66921

Keywords

  • biofuel
  • biomass
  • biorefinery
  • indirect liquefaction
  • oxygenates
  • process design
  • sustainability
  • techno-economic analysis

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