Biomass gasification is an attractive technology that efficiently converts forest biomass, biomass-based wastes and other types of renewable feedstocks into transportation fuels, chemicals or electricity. The technology has great potential to significantly contribute to the national targets of a fossil fuel independent vehicle fleet by 2030 and the vision of a fossil-free society by 2045.

With regard to biomass gasification plants, one important bottleneck for commercialization is the choice of engineering solutions for the downstream product gas cleaning and conditioning, before using the produced synthesis gas. The main aim of a newly finished f3 study has been to make a preliminary evaluation of the technical and economic feasibility of combining biomass gasification with molten carbonate electrolysis cell (MCEC) technology in systems for production of biomass-based substitute natural gas (bio-SNG).

The study, titled Bio-SNG production by means of biomass gasification combined with MCEC technique,  is based on a literature survey and a conceptual techno-economic investigation of using a MCEC as a gas cleaning and conditioning process step in a biomass gasification system for bio-SNG production. To enable a comparison with a real case, the GoBiGas plant was selected as a reference case. Five different scenarios were evaluated in relation to energy and economic performance.

The conclusion is the results are positive: the mass and energy balance shows that the production of bio-SNG can be boosted by up to 60% when integrating a MCEC, compared to the same biomass input in a standalone operation of a GoBiGas plant. The project has been led by Klas Engvall, KTH, and has been carried out in collaboration with participants also from Bio4Energy/LTU.

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