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Preliminary screening - Technical and economic assessment of synthesis gas to fuels and chemicals with emphasis on the potential for biomass-derived syngas

Citation

Spath, P. L., & Dayton, D. (2003). Preliminary screening - Technical and economic assessment of synthesis gas to fuels and chemicals with emphasis on the potential for biomass-derived syngas. (NREL Technical Report NREL/TP-510-34929). Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Abstract

In principle, syngas (primarily consisting of CO and H2) can be produced from any
hydrocarbon feedstock, including: natural gas, naphtha, residual oil, petroleum coke,
coal, and biomass. The lowest cost routes for syngas production, however, are based on
natural gas, the cheapest option being remote or stranded reserves. Economic
considerations dictate that the current production of liquid fuels from syngas translates
into the use of natural gas as the hydrocarbon source. Nevertheless, the syngas
production operation in a gas-to-liquids plant amounts to greater than half of the capital
cost of the plant. The choice of technology for syngas production also depends on the
scale of the synthesis operation. Syngas production from solid fuels can require an even
greater capital investment with the addition of feedstock handling and more complex
syngas purification operations. The greatest impact on improving the economics of gasto
liquids plants is through 1) decreasing capital costs associated with syngas production
and 2) improving the thermal efficiency with better heat integration and utilization.
Improved thermal efficiency can be obtained by combining the gas-to-liquids plant with a
power generation plant to take advantage of the availability of low-pressure steam.