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Title: Conceptual process design and economics for the production of high-octane gasoline blendstock via indirect liquefaction of biomass through methanol/dimethyl ether intermediates

This paper describes in detail one potential conversion process for the production of high-octane gasoline blendstock via indirect liquefaction of biomass. The processing steps of this pathway include the conversion of biomass to synthesis gas via indirect gasification, gas clean-up via reforming of tars and other hydrocarbons, catalytic conversion of syngas to methanol, methanol dehydration to dimethyl ether (DME), and the homologation of DME over a zeolite catalyst to high-octane gasoline-range hydrocarbon products. The current process configuration has similarities to conventional methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technologies, but there are key distinctions, specifically regarding the product slate, catalysts, and reactor conditions. A techno-economic analysis is performed to investigate the production of high-octane gasoline blendstock. The design features a processing daily capacity of 2000 tonnes (2205 short tons) of dry biomass. The process yields 271 liters of liquid fuel per dry tonne of biomass (65 gal/dry ton), for an annual fuel production rate of 178 million liters (47 MM gal) at 90% on-stream time. The estimated total capital investment for an nth-plant is $438 million. The resulting minimum fuel selling price (MFSP) is $0.86 per liter or $3.25 per gallon in 2011 US dollars. A rigorous sensitivity analysis captures uncertainties in costs and plantmore » performance. Sustainability metrics for the conversion process are quantified and assessed. The potential premium value of the high-octane gasoline blendstock is examined and found to be at least as competitive as fossil-derived blendstocks. A simple blending strategy is proposed to demonstrate the potential for blending the biomass-derived blendstock with petroleum-derived intermediates. Published 2015. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining published by Society of Industrial Chemistry and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.« less
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  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  3. DWH Process Consulting LLC, Centennial, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5100-65305; PNNL-SA-113776
Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; AC05-76RL01830
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1; Related Information: Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; thermochemical conversion; indirect gasification; dimethyl ether homologation; high-octane gasoline; process design; techno-economic analysis; sustainability
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1243215