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The competitiveness of synthetic natural gas as a propellant in the Swedish fuel market
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0635-7372
2013 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 52, 810-818 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The road transport sector today is almost exclusively dependent on fossil fuels. Consequently, it will need to face a radical change if it aims to switch from a fossil-based system to a renewable-based system. Even though there are many promising technologies under development, they must also be economically viable to be implemented. This paper studies the economic feasibility of synthesizing natural gas through methanation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water electrolysis. It is shown that the main influences for profitability are electricity prices, synthetic natural gas (SNG) selling prices and that the by-products from the process are sold. The base scenario generates a 16% annual return on investment assuming that SNG can be sold at the same price as petrol. A general number based on set conditions was that the SNG must be sold at a price about 2.6 times higher per kWh than when bought in form of electricity. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the running costs weigh more heavily than the yearly investment cost and off-peak production can therefore still be economically profitable with only a moderate reduction of electricity price. The calculations and prices are based on Swedish prerequisites but are applicable to other countries and regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 52, 810-818 p.
Keyword [en]
Synthetic natural gas, Economiv feasibility, Sabatier reaction
National Category
Energy Engineering Chemical Process Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-105565DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.10.049ISI: 000313775100072Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84870695799OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-105565DiVA: diva2:571484
Note

QC 20130205

Available from: 2012-11-22 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Energy system evaluation of thermo-chemical biofuel production: Process development by integration of power cycles and sustainable electricity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy system evaluation of thermo-chemical biofuel production: Process development by integration of power cycles and sustainable electricity
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Fossil fuels dominate the world energy supply today and the transport sector is no exception. Renewable alternatives must therefore be introduced to replace fossil fuels and their emissions, without sacrificing our standard of living. There is a good potential for biofuels but process improvements are essential, to ensure efficient use of a limited amount of biomass and better compete with fossil alternatives. The general aim of this research is therefore to investigate how to improve efficiency in biofuel production by process development and co-generation of heat and electricity. The work has been divided into three parts; power cycles in biofuel production, methane production via pyrolysis and biofuels from renewable electricity.

The studies of bio-based methanol plants showed that steam power generation has a key role in the large-scale biofuel production process. However, a large portion of the steam from the recovered reaction heat is needed in the fuel production process. One measure to increase steam power generation, evaluated in this thesis, is to lower the steam demand by humidification of the gasification agent. Pinch analysis indicated synergies from gas turbine integration and our studies concluded that the electrical efficiency for natural gas fired gas turbines amounts to 56-58%, in the same range as for large combined cycle plants. The use of the off-gas from the biofuel production is also a potential integration option but difficult for modern high-efficient gas turbines. Furthermore, gasification with oxygen and extensive syngas cleaning might be too energy-consuming for efficient power generation.

Methane production via pyrolysis showed improved efficiency compared with the competing route via gasification. The total biomass to methane efficiency, including additional biomass to fulfil the power demand, was calculated to 73-74%. The process benefits from lower thermal losses and less reaction heat when syngas is avoided as an intermediate step and can handle high-alkali fuels such as annual crops.

Several synergies were discovered when integrating conventional biofuel production with addition of hydrogen. Introducing hydrogen would also greatly increase the biofuel production potential for regions with limited biomass resources. It was also concluded that methane produced from electrolysis of water could be economically feasible if the product was priced in parity with petrol.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. v, 68 p.
Series
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2012:59
Keyword
Biomass, Gasification, Methane, SNG, Power to Gas, Pyrolysis
National Category
Energy Systems Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-105814 (URN)978-91-7415-835-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-12-14, Sal E3, Osquarsbacke 14, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20121127

Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-27 Last updated: 2012-11-27Bibliographically approved
2. Power to gas: Bridging renewable electricity to the transport sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Power to gas: Bridging renewable electricity to the transport sector
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Globally, transport accounts for a significant part of the total energy utilization and is heavily dominated by fossil fuels. The main challenge is how the greenhouse gas emissions in road transport can be addressed. Moreover, the use of fossil fuels in road transport makes most countries or regions dependent on those with oil and/or gas assets. With that said, the question arises of what can be done to reduce the levels of greenhouse gas emissions and furthermore reduce dependency on oil? One angle is to study what source of energy is used.

Biomass is considered to be an important energy contributor in future transport and has been a reliable energy source for a long time. However, it is commonly known that biomass alone cannot sustain the energy needs in the transport sector by far.

This work presents an alternative where renewable electricity could play a significant role in road transport within a relatively short time period. Today the amount of electricity used in road transport is negligible but has a potential to contribute substantially. It is suggested that the electricity should be stored, or “packaged” in a chemical manner, as a way of conserving the electrical energy. One way of doing so is to chemically synthesize fuels. It has been investigated how a fossil free transport system could be designed, to reach high levels of self-sufficiency. According to the studies, renewable electricity could have the single most important role in such a system.   

Among the synthetic fuels, synthetic methane (also called synthetic biogas) is the main focus of the thesis. Hydrogen is obtained through water electrolysis, driven by electricity (preferable renewable), and reacted with carbon dioxide to produce synthetic methane. The concept of the mentioned process goes under the name Power to Gas. The electricity to fuel efficiency of such a process reaches about 50 %, but if utilizing excess heat produced during the electrolysis and the reaction, the total process efficiency can reach much higher levels.

The economics of the process is as important as the technology itself in terms of large scale implementation. The price of electricity and biogas are the most important influences on the economic viability. The minimum “spread” between purchase and selling price can be determined to obtain a general perception of the economic feasibility. In this case biogas must be sold about 2.6 times higher than purchased electricity per kWh.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. v, 50 p.
Series
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2013:2
Keyword
transport, renewable electricity, synthetic fuels, energy, power to gas
National Category
Chemical Engineering Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-111457 (URN)978-91-7501-597-2 (ISBN)
Presentation
2013-01-14, Biblioteket/Seminarierummet, Teknikringen 42, plan 6, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Formas
Note

QC 20130111

Available from: 2013-01-11 Created: 2013-01-11 Last updated: 2013-01-11Bibliographically approved

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