About the project

The production of forest-based drop-in biofuels has huge potential in Sweden thanks to its abundant forest-based feedstock. From the Swedish perspective, development of technologies that unlock the potential of its forest feedstock to replace fossil use in the transport sector is critical. One type of technology that has been demonstrated in several occasions, to mention a few, the Gobigas plant and LTU Green Fuels, is biomass gasification. Two major limitations of biomass gasification-based biofuels production are high investment costs and reaching economy of scale production levels.

A concept combining biomass gasification and MCEC can help address both. Feedstock diversification is crucial both to achieve economy of scale and to facilitate transition by boosting the production levels. Molten carbonate electrolysis cell (MCEC) can play central role to diversify feedstock by creating an important link between excess electricity and liquid/gas fuels. This way, integration of the MCEC adds flexibility to the biofuel production process and the overall energy system, helping to debottleneck capacity limitation of biomass gasifiers to reach economy of scale production levels. In addition, the fact that the MCEC process can replace multiple steps used in current state-of-the-art gasification based biofuels production, contributes to a lower specific investment cost. Also, the oxygen by-product of the MCEC can be used in the gasification step which can eliminate the need for separate air separation unit.

The aim of this project is to validate a hybrid process, combining MCEC technique with gasification to allow for optimal conversion of renewable energy into storable transportation fuels. Focus is on gasification as MCEC can replace multiple process steps — O2 plant, removal of hydrocarbons, water-gas shift and CO2-removal.

The project will produce knowledge specific to the operating range and feasibility of MCEC as an alternative pathway to a multiple-stage downstream conditioning of raw-syngas from biomass gasification prior to its synthesis to transport grade biofuel. It will also evaluate biofuel production potentials for an integrated industrial setup including scale, feedstock availability, integration aspects, production cost and GHG emissions reduction.

Facts

Manager
Sennai Asmelash Mesfun, RISE

Contact
sennai.asmelash.mesfun@ri.se

Participants
Andrea Toffolo, Bio4Energy (LTU) // Klas Engvall and Carina Lagergren, KTH

Time plan
July 2019 - December 2020

Total project cost
1 240 000 SEK

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program
48371-1