Comparison of Gasification/Synthesis Processes for Converting Wood Into Alcohols or Gasoline

Tuesday, November 9, 2010: 9:20 AM
251 E Room (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Steven D. Phillips, Joan Tarud, Abhijit Dutta and Mary Biddy, National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Process simulations for converting wood to liquid fuels have been developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory over the past four years based on a core process model for indirectly-heated gasification, catalytic tar and hydrocarbon reforming,and gas conditioning. The resulting synthesis gas can be catalytically converted into several possible liquid fuels including methanol, ethanol, mixed alcohols, or gasoline. Different product pathways can have significantly different requirements for the syngas conditions that give optimum yields. The degree of thermal integration for these processes can result in large differences in plant gate prices and product yields. A consistent set of technical and economic assumptions between the different processes permits meaningful comparisons to be made. An overview of the wood to alcohols and gasoline processes will be presented including estimated plant gate prices, product yields, and potential external factors that impact each product's fungibility with the existing fuel infrastructure and end users.

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