Relative Sustainability of Natural Gas Assisted High-Octane Gasoline Blendstock Production from Biomass

Research output: NRELPresentation


Biomass-derived hydrocarbon fuel technologies are being developed and pursued for better economy, environment, and society benefits underpinning the sustainability of transportation energy. Increasing availability and affordability of natural gas (NG) in the US can play an important role in assisting renewable fuel technology development, primarily in terms of economic feasibility. When a biorefinery is co-processing NG with biomass, the current low cost of NG coupled with the higher NG carbon conversion efficiency potentially allow for cost competitiveness of the fuel while achieving a minimum GHG emission reduction of 50 percent or higher compared to petroleum fuel. This study evaluates the relative sustainability of the production of high-octane gasoline blendstock via indirect liquefaction (IDL) of biomass (and with NG co-feed) through methanol/dimethyl ether intermediates. The sustainability metrics considered in this study include minimum fuel selling price (MFSP), carbon conversion efficiency, life cycle GHG emissions, life cycle water consumption, fossil energy return on investment (EROI), GHG emission avoidance cost, and job creation. Co-processing NG can evidently improve the MFSP. Evaluation of the relative sustainability can shed light on the biomass-NG synergistic impacts and sustainability trade-offs associated with the IDL as high-octane gasoline blendstock production.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting, 29 October - 3 November 2017, Minneapolis, Minnesota

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5100-70425


  • biomass
  • carbon conversion efficiency
  • fuel selling price
  • gasoline
  • high octane
  • natural gas
  • sustainability


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