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Title: Lignite-plus-Biomass to Synthetic Jet Fuel with CO2 Capture and Storage: Design, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis for a Near-Term First-of-a-Kind Demonstration Project and Prospective Future Commercial Plants

Abstract

We report on a 30-month design study for a first-of-a-kind (FOAK) demonstration plant that would be built at a site near Meridian, Mississippi, to coprocess lignite coal and woody biomass into jet fuel. The design uses an oxygen-blown TRIG™ gasifier developed by KBR and Southern Company. Fischer-Tropsch conversion of the syngas produces synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) as the primary product, plus naphtha. Other co-products include electricity sold to the grid and CO 2 sold for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Previous studies have identified coprocessing of various coals and biomass with CO 2 capture as promising options for cost-competitive production of low net lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions synthetic fuels. The effort reported here goes beyond earlier studies in the level of detail in process design and cost estimation with the aim of improving the understanding of the economic prospects for lignite and woody biomass coprocessing systems. Key objectives in the design of the FOAK lignite/biomass-to-jet (LBJ) plant were to achieve net lifecycle GHG emissions for the SPK that are less than for conventional petroleum-derived jet fuel and to make process design and equipment selections such that the plant could be built and operated in the near term, e.g.,more » before 2025. The process design was developed by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Queensland and validated by engineers at the WorleyParsons Group (WP). Commercial vendors provided design and cost estimates for several major plant components. Bare-erected capital costs and operating and maintenance costs were estimated by WP. The primary objective in building and operating the FOAK plant would be to demonstrate the technical viability of the LBJ concept as an essential first step toward launching commercial-scale plants in the longer term. With this in mind, the project team developed a set of principles to help guide the process design: the total plant cost should be less than 2 billion USD (to limit investment risk); the level of input biomass should be both proportionally significant to reflect biomass/lignite co-gasification and sufficient to achieve GHG emissions goals; process design decisions and vendor/equipment selections should prioritize the likelihood of technical success over minimizing the cost of jet fuel production. The resulting FOAK plant design capacity is 1,551 metric t/d (45.5% moisture) lignite and 556 t/d (43.3% moisture) biomass, for a total input of 295 MW HHV, of which 25% is biomass. The design output is 1,252 actual barrels per day of liquids, of which 80% is SPK (62.3 MW LHV) and 20% is naphtha (13.9 MW LHV). It exports 15 MW e of electricity after satisfying a 38 MW e onsite auxiliary load. Additional products are 1,326 t/d of pressurized pipeline-quality CO 2 and 49 t/day of sulfuric acid (93 wt% H 2SO 4). With thinnings from sustainably-managed southern pine plantations as the biomass, and with captured CO 2 stored underground via EOR, the net lifecycle emissions for the SPK product are estimated to be about one-quarter of those for petroleum-derived jet fuel. The bare-erected cost (BEC) estimated by WP for this plant is 588 million USD (2015). The authors’ best estimate of total plant cost (TPC) is 1,230 million USD, arrived at by assuming engineering, procurement and construction management services (20% of BEC), process 5 contingencies (35% of BEC), and project contingencies (35% of the sum of all other costs, i.e., 35% of 1.55xBEC). Not surprisingly, an annual discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis determined that it would be impossible to generate a positive net present value (NPV) over a wide range in key input assumptions. An SPK production cost subsidy of nearly 400/bbl USD over a 20-year plant life would be required to achieve zero NPV under a baseline set of assumptions (including 3% real weighted average cost of capital and a levelized crude oil price of 80/bbl USD). Alternatively, a capital grant in excess of the TPC value would also achieve zero NPV. The poor financial results reflect the small scale of the plant, the design principle to prioritize technical success, the levels of contingencies appropriate for the relatively early stage of project development, and the first-of-a-kind nature of the plant. Technology innovations, learning via construction and operating experience, alternative plant configurations, and larger scale should improve economics of future plants. To help understand these prospects, a preliminary analysis of N th-of-a-kind (NOAK) plants was developed, but with the limitation that plants would use only equipment components that for the most part are already commercial today: consideration of advanced, not-yet-commercial technologies and of R&D-driven improvements in existing technologies were beyond the scope of this analysis. The analysis found that a variety of NOAK plant designs that coprocess lignite and woody biomass to make jet fuel are unlikely to be economically competitive without subsidy even in the presence of a high future carbon tax or equivalent greenhouse gas mitigation policy. This conclusion applies to process configurations and input biomass/lignite ratios that result in net GHG emissions as high as those for petroleum-derived jet fuel and as low as zero. In contrast, encouraging results were found for plants processing only biomass. The economics of these “BECCS” plants (biomass energy with CCS) improve dramatically with the strength of carbon mitigation policies because of their strongly negative net GHG emissions. These findings do not imply that coal/biomass coprocessing strategies for making synfuels with CCS are not economically promising – only that, in the case of lignite, much more than a 25% biomass coprocessing rate would be needed. However, our analysis shows that all such systems are unlikely to be economic in the absence of a strong carbon mitigation policy. Future R&D driven technological innovations could modify this conclusion. Among other R&D priorities, an emphasis on better understanding and reducing plant auxiliary loads is warranted.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Queensland, St. Luicia, QLD (Australia). UQ Energy Initiative and Dow Center for Sustainable Engineering Innovation
  2. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Energy Systems Analysis Group, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and School of Engineering and Applied Science
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Princeton Univ., NJ (United States); National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE); Southern Company Services, Inc., Birmingham, AL (United States); Univ. of Queensland, St. Luicia, QLD (Australia)
Contributing Org.:
WorleyParsons Ltd., Reading, PA (United States); Antares Group Inc., Lanham, MD (United States); Polytechnic Univ. of Milan (Italy)
OSTI Identifier:
1438250
Report Number(s):
DOE-Princeton-23697
DOE Contract Number:  
FE0023697
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 10 SYNTHETIC FUELS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY

Citation Formats

Greig, Chris, Larson, Eric, Kreutz, Thomas, Meerman, Johannes, and Williams, Robert. Lignite-plus-Biomass to Synthetic Jet Fuel with CO2 Capture and Storage: Design, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis for a Near-Term First-of-a-Kind Demonstration Project and Prospective Future Commercial Plants. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1438250.
Greig, Chris, Larson, Eric, Kreutz, Thomas, Meerman, Johannes, & Williams, Robert. Lignite-plus-Biomass to Synthetic Jet Fuel with CO2 Capture and Storage: Design, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis for a Near-Term First-of-a-Kind Demonstration Project and Prospective Future Commercial Plants. United States. doi:10.2172/1438250.
Greig, Chris, Larson, Eric, Kreutz, Thomas, Meerman, Johannes, and Williams, Robert. Fri . "Lignite-plus-Biomass to Synthetic Jet Fuel with CO2 Capture and Storage: Design, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis for a Near-Term First-of-a-Kind Demonstration Project and Prospective Future Commercial Plants". United States. doi:10.2172/1438250. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1438250.
@article{osti_1438250,
title = {Lignite-plus-Biomass to Synthetic Jet Fuel with CO2 Capture and Storage: Design, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis for a Near-Term First-of-a-Kind Demonstration Project and Prospective Future Commercial Plants},
author = {Greig, Chris and Larson, Eric and Kreutz, Thomas and Meerman, Johannes and Williams, Robert},
abstractNote = {We report on a 30-month design study for a first-of-a-kind (FOAK) demonstration plant that would be built at a site near Meridian, Mississippi, to coprocess lignite coal and woody biomass into jet fuel. The design uses an oxygen-blown TRIG™ gasifier developed by KBR and Southern Company. Fischer-Tropsch conversion of the syngas produces synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) as the primary product, plus naphtha. Other co-products include electricity sold to the grid and CO2 sold for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Previous studies have identified coprocessing of various coals and biomass with CO2 capture as promising options for cost-competitive production of low net lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions synthetic fuels. The effort reported here goes beyond earlier studies in the level of detail in process design and cost estimation with the aim of improving the understanding of the economic prospects for lignite and woody biomass coprocessing systems. Key objectives in the design of the FOAK lignite/biomass-to-jet (LBJ) plant were to achieve net lifecycle GHG emissions for the SPK that are less than for conventional petroleum-derived jet fuel and to make process design and equipment selections such that the plant could be built and operated in the near term, e.g., before 2025. The process design was developed by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Queensland and validated by engineers at the WorleyParsons Group (WP). Commercial vendors provided design and cost estimates for several major plant components. Bare-erected capital costs and operating and maintenance costs were estimated by WP. The primary objective in building and operating the FOAK plant would be to demonstrate the technical viability of the LBJ concept as an essential first step toward launching commercial-scale plants in the longer term. With this in mind, the project team developed a set of principles to help guide the process design: the total plant cost should be less than 2 billion USD (to limit investment risk); the level of input biomass should be both proportionally significant to reflect biomass/lignite co-gasification and sufficient to achieve GHG emissions goals; process design decisions and vendor/equipment selections should prioritize the likelihood of technical success over minimizing the cost of jet fuel production. The resulting FOAK plant design capacity is 1,551 metric t/d (45.5% moisture) lignite and 556 t/d (43.3% moisture) biomass, for a total input of 295 MWHHV, of which 25% is biomass. The design output is 1,252 actual barrels per day of liquids, of which 80% is SPK (62.3 MWLHV) and 20% is naphtha (13.9 MWLHV). It exports 15 MWe of electricity after satisfying a 38 MWe onsite auxiliary load. Additional products are 1,326 t/d of pressurized pipeline-quality CO2 and 49 t/day of sulfuric acid (93 wt% H2SO4). With thinnings from sustainably-managed southern pine plantations as the biomass, and with captured CO2 stored underground via EOR, the net lifecycle emissions for the SPK product are estimated to be about one-quarter of those for petroleum-derived jet fuel. The bare-erected cost (BEC) estimated by WP for this plant is 588 million USD (2015). The authors’ best estimate of total plant cost (TPC) is 1,230 million USD, arrived at by assuming engineering, procurement and construction management services (20% of BEC), process 5 contingencies (35% of BEC), and project contingencies (35% of the sum of all other costs, i.e., 35% of 1.55xBEC). Not surprisingly, an annual discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis determined that it would be impossible to generate a positive net present value (NPV) over a wide range in key input assumptions. An SPK production cost subsidy of nearly 400/bbl USD over a 20-year plant life would be required to achieve zero NPV under a baseline set of assumptions (including 3% real weighted average cost of capital and a levelized crude oil price of 80/bbl USD). Alternatively, a capital grant in excess of the TPC value would also achieve zero NPV. The poor financial results reflect the small scale of the plant, the design principle to prioritize technical success, the levels of contingencies appropriate for the relatively early stage of project development, and the first-of-a-kind nature of the plant. Technology innovations, learning via construction and operating experience, alternative plant configurations, and larger scale should improve economics of future plants. To help understand these prospects, a preliminary analysis of Nth-of-a-kind (NOAK) plants was developed, but with the limitation that plants would use only equipment components that for the most part are already commercial today: consideration of advanced, not-yet-commercial technologies and of R&D-driven improvements in existing technologies were beyond the scope of this analysis. The analysis found that a variety of NOAK plant designs that coprocess lignite and woody biomass to make jet fuel are unlikely to be economically competitive without subsidy even in the presence of a high future carbon tax or equivalent greenhouse gas mitigation policy. This conclusion applies to process configurations and input biomass/lignite ratios that result in net GHG emissions as high as those for petroleum-derived jet fuel and as low as zero. In contrast, encouraging results were found for plants processing only biomass. The economics of these “BECCS” plants (biomass energy with CCS) improve dramatically with the strength of carbon mitigation policies because of their strongly negative net GHG emissions. These findings do not imply that coal/biomass coprocessing strategies for making synfuels with CCS are not economically promising – only that, in the case of lignite, much more than a 25% biomass coprocessing rate would be needed. However, our analysis shows that all such systems are unlikely to be economic in the absence of a strong carbon mitigation policy. Future R&D driven technological innovations could modify this conclusion. Among other R&D priorities, an emphasis on better understanding and reducing plant auxiliary loads is warranted.},
doi = {10.2172/1438250},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {9}
}