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Electricity and fluid fuels from biomass and coal using advanced technologies: a cost comparison for developing country applications

Abstract

Recent analyses of alternative global energy supply strategies, such as the forthcoming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be published in 1996, have drawn attention to the possibility that biomass modernized with advanced technologies could play an important role in meeting global energy needs in the next century. This paper discusses two promising classes of advanced technologies that offer the potential for providing modem energy carriers (electricity and fluid fuels) from biomass at competitive costs within one or two decades. These technologies offer significantly more efficient use of land than currently commercial technologies for producing electricity and fluid fuels from biomass, as well as substantially improved energy balances. Electricity is Rely to be the first large market for modernized biomass, but the potential market for fluid fuel production is likely to be much larger. As coal is likely to present a more serious competitive challenge to biomass in the long run, we present an economic comparison with coal-based electricity and fluid fuels. A meaningful economic comparison between coal and biomass is possible because these feedstocks are sufficiently alike in their physical characteristics that similar conversion technologies may well be used for producing electricity and fluid fuels  More>>
Authors:
Kartha, S; Larson, E D; Williams, R H; [1]  Katofsky, R E; [2]  Chen, J; [3]  Marrison, C I [4] 
  1. Center for Energy and Environment Studies School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (United States)
  2. Arthur D. Little Co., Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. Thermo Fibertek, Inc., Auburn, MA (United States)
  4. Oliver, Wyman and Co., New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Dec 01, 1995
Product Type:
Conference
Report Number:
INIS-XT-001; CONF-9512165-
Reference Number:
SCA: 093000; 015000; PA: AIX-30:019829; EDB-99:049022; SN: 99002090895
Resource Relation:
Conference: Symposium on development and utilization of biomass energy resources in developing countries, Vienna (Austria), 11-14 Dec 1995; Other Information: DN: 68 refs, 7 figs, 7 tabs; PBD: Dec 1995; Related Information: Is Part Of Symposium on development and utilization of biomass energy resources in developing countries. Proceedings. V. 1: Thematic papers; PB: 364 p.
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; BIOMASS; BIOMASS PLANTATIONS; CLIMATIC CHANGE; COST ESTIMATION; DEVELOPING COUNTRIES; ENERGY DEMAND; ENERGY POLICY; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; FUEL CELLS; GASIFICATION; HYDROGEN; METHANOL
OSTI ID:
340388
Research Organizations:
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna (Austria)
Country of Origin:
UNIDO
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
Other: ON: DE99621757; TRN: XT9900022019829
Availability:
INIS; OSTI as DE99621757
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
pp. 251-282
Announcement Date:

Citation Formats

Kartha, S, Larson, E D, Williams, R H, Katofsky, R E, Chen, J, and Marrison, C I. Electricity and fluid fuels from biomass and coal using advanced technologies: a cost comparison for developing country applications. UNIDO: N. p., 1995. Web.
Kartha, S, Larson, E D, Williams, R H, Katofsky, R E, Chen, J, & Marrison, C I. Electricity and fluid fuels from biomass and coal using advanced technologies: a cost comparison for developing country applications. UNIDO.
Kartha, S, Larson, E D, Williams, R H, Katofsky, R E, Chen, J, and Marrison, C I. 1995. "Electricity and fluid fuels from biomass and coal using advanced technologies: a cost comparison for developing country applications." UNIDO.
@misc{etde_340388,
title = {Electricity and fluid fuels from biomass and coal using advanced technologies: a cost comparison for developing country applications}
author = {Kartha, S, Larson, E D, Williams, R H, Katofsky, R E, Chen, J, and Marrison, C I}
abstractNote = {Recent analyses of alternative global energy supply strategies, such as the forthcoming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be published in 1996, have drawn attention to the possibility that biomass modernized with advanced technologies could play an important role in meeting global energy needs in the next century. This paper discusses two promising classes of advanced technologies that offer the potential for providing modem energy carriers (electricity and fluid fuels) from biomass at competitive costs within one or two decades. These technologies offer significantly more efficient use of land than currently commercial technologies for producing electricity and fluid fuels from biomass, as well as substantially improved energy balances. Electricity is Rely to be the first large market for modernized biomass, but the potential market for fluid fuel production is likely to be much larger. As coal is likely to present a more serious competitive challenge to biomass in the long run, we present an economic comparison with coal-based electricity and fluid fuels. A meaningful economic comparison between coal and biomass is possible because these feedstocks are sufficiently alike in their physical characteristics that similar conversion technologies may well be used for producing electricity and fluid fuels from them. When similar conversion technologies are used for both feedstocks, the relative costs of electricity or fluid fuels will be determined by the distinguishing technical characteristics of the feedstocks (sulphur content, moisture content and reactivity) and by the relative feedstock prices. Electric power generation from biomass and coal are compared here using an advanced integrated gasifier/gas turbine cycle that offers the potential for achieving high efficiency, low unit capital cost and low local pollutant emissions: the steam-injected gas turbine coupled to an air-blown gasifier. For both feedstocks, generation costs are prospectively lower than with present-day coal-fuelled steam electric power generation using flue gas desulphurization, while sulphur emissions would be much lower. Assuming costs for plantation-grown biomass based on commercial plantation practice in Brazil, it is shown that the break-even coal price is lower that the cost of coal projected by the World Bank for many developing countries for the year 2005. For fluid fuels, a comparison is made between biomass and coal as feedstocks for the production of methanol and H{sub 2}. These fuels are the energy carriers of choice for vehicles based on fuel cell technologies. Fuel cell technology for transport applications is rapidly advancing, and fuel cell buses have already been demonstrated and will be available commercially before 2000; fuel cells could be available for automotive applications in the period 2005-2010. The main attractions of fuel cell vehicles for developing countries are their favourable emissions characteristics (zero or near-zero pollutant emissions without the need for control technologies), their high fuel economy (energy requirements per kilometre are just one third to one half those for internal combustion engine vehicles) and their energy supply diversity advantages (natural gas, biomass and coal can be used at fuel costs per kilometre that are prospectively competitive with costs for petroleum). As in the case of power generation, it is shown that methanol and H{sub 2} derived from plantation-grown biomass have good prospects for being competitive with coal-derived methanol and H{sub 2} in many regions, assuming biomass prices based on Brazilian experience with commercial plantations and World Bank projections of coal prices for developing countries. (author) 68 refs, 7 figs, 7 tabs}
place = {UNIDO}
year = {1995}
month = {Dec}
}