OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

Comparison of Bio-mass to Bio-oils Reactor Systems: Direct Conversion vs. Companion Coal Gasification
2013 AIChE Contest Problem Daniel 3/14/2013

Table of Contents
Title Page Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 3 Introduction ................................................................................................................................................... 3 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................................... 4 Recommendations ......................................................................................................................................... 4 Project Premises ............................................................................................................................................ 5 Process Flow Diagrams................................................................................................................................. 5 Stream Attributes Table ................................................................................................................................ 6 Process Description....................................................................................................................................... 7 Married Process ........................................................................................................................................ 7 Equipment ............................................................................................................................................. 7 Direct Process ........................................................................................................................................... 8 Equipment ............................................................................................................................................. 8 Process Control Strategy ........................................................................................................................... 9 Safety .......................................................................................................................................................... 10 Environmental ............................................................................................................................................. 11 Utility Summary.......................................................................................................................................... 12 Operating Cost Summary ............................................................................................................................ 12 Equipment Information Summary .............................................................................................................. 12 Capital Estimate .......................................................................................................................................... 13 Economic Analysis ..................................................................................................................................... 14 Innovation & Optimization ......................................................................................................................... 15 References ................................................................................................................................................... 16 Engineering Calculations ............................................................................................................................ 17 Computer Programs .................................................................................................................................... 18 Computer Process Simulations ................................................................................................................... 19

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S in 2011 required that 45% of all petroleum products utilized were imported. Emissions were monitored and found to be above minimum levels of EPA regulation so additional permits were requested and project initiation was delayed a year to accommodate the process. pyrolysis chamber.S has massive reserves of biomass and coal. the nearby population. utilizes. The analysis takes into account the initial capital investment. working capital. and the surrounding environment. Subsequent economics for both process can be found in””. This preliminary balance was then modeled in Aspen Plus in order to size equipment and gain clearer and more substantial values. heat exchangers. The U. Biomass and coal can be transformed into usable liquid fuels through a process called pyrolysis. which can be used to displace the need of foreign oil. which can be used to displace the need of foreign oil. fired heater. The married process differs in capital investments from the direct process due to its need for a gasifier and the lack of a compressor and fired heater. 3 . pumps. such as a conveyor. The usage of the direct process allows for more locations to be utilized instead of relying on areas with access to coal in high quantities. The U. This was achieved through the use of material and energy balances around commercialized gasification technology along with an integrated pyrolysis reactor.S in 2001 required that 45% of all petroleum products utilized were imported. Biomass and coal can be transformed into usable liquid fuels through a process called pyrolysis. agitator. Due to high temperatures and pressure inherent in almost every piece of equipment protective gear is assigned a mandatory for all workers within plant area. A cost analysis was performed for a direct pyrolysis process only involving biomass and a ‘married’ process involving the gasification of coal along with biomass pyrolysis. The design was completed and an economic analysis was carried out to calculate the price per lb. cyclone. Depending on the results coal and biomass will be utilized in different methods to create the greatest energy gain for the U. upgrade vessel.S has massive reserves of biomass and coal. accumulator. labor costs.S. and maintenance. compressor. Introduction The energy consumption of the U. and initial biomass processing. Safety within both processes was held to the highest standards to protect workers. of bio oil produced for each process. recovery vessel. The first goal of this project was to do a preliminary engineering design on the direct pyrolysis method and on the married process involving coal gasification and biomass pyrolysis.Executive Summary The energy consumption of the U. The direct process has a number of pieces of equipment to be purchased before implementation. It is recommended that the direct process be utilized due to the high capital costs associated with the coal gasification process.

Developing the cost of the biomass feed due to the environmental considerations and plant location Information on the kinetic rates of reformation and hydrotreating in order to better integrate them into the process 4 . the married being almost 60 times that of the direct process. This process produced 405 million pounds of bio-oil in the same time span. resulting in a cost per pound of bio-oil of $0. Both processes are commercially available in 2013 and both processes allow for the processing of nearby biomass into bio-oil. along with the increased production of bio-oil makes the direct conversion process the cheaper of the two options. The vastly different capital costs. This process produced 405 million pounds of bio-oil in the same time span.Conclusions The total capital investment for the married process over a period of 5 years was 575 million dollars.43. The total capital investment for the direct process over a period of 5 years was 30 million dollars.02. Recommendations     An advanced look at the bio-oil reconstruction process should be commenced due to the perceived lower yields in the married process despite there being more material Further evaluation of the steam producing capabilities of the heat exchangers and a reevaluation of their design due to the vaporization. resulting in a cost per pound of bio-oil of $1.

Taxes were not considered in this evaluation because revenue was not considered. Costs of utilities were obtained from Turton with coal being viewed as a utility for the married process. more bio-oil produced means more labor costs. Bio-oil treating was modeled as an ideal process with an emphasis on the minimization of Gibbs free energy along with the removal of the possibility of certain products. It is assumed to bring the produced bio-oil to a stand it is blended and treated with ethanol for selling. Char and slag present in the process are removed from consideration due to their usage as combustion resources and continuing heat for the processes. The start date of the project was assumed to be 2013. The equation of state utilized was SRK due to the number of light hydrocarbons present in the bio-oil and the liquid fuels. however all capital cost calculations were made in reference to 2012 due to the availability of CEPCI data. it is understood that all costs for this project will be written off or expensed in other areas of project development. Process Flow Diagrams 5 . Syngas produced was not evaluated in this project due to the lack of standards presented and the knowledge base to clean and ready for commercialization. Construction begins the beginning of 2013 and carries through to the beginning of 2014 where the process is started once proper emission permits are obtained and a qualified workforce is hired. A selling price for the bio oil was not evaluated because of the varying octane levels of the product in both cases. ex. an ideal form of biomass was developed along with pyrolysis yields in order to preserve a material balance.Project Premises Due to the information provided at the end of the project. a project life of 5 years was selected in order to simplify calculations. Cost of labor in the plant was done on a scaling basis from bio-oil production. Any steam produced was viewed as accredit towards utilities. From various resources.

Stream Attributes Table 6 .

A 990 ft2 heat exchanger vaporizes 289 gpm of 161 psia water. wide belt moving at 4. and heat flux conditions. Cyclones: Used for solid particle removal from pyrolysis vapor stream.000 gpm of pyrolysis vapor from 932F to 500F.52 lb. Quench Heat Exchanger: Lowers temperature rapidly to minimize side reaction from occurring. of coal per second to be mixed. The liquid remaining is then enters in a combined F-T and hydrotreating vessel to upgrade the remaining bio-oil.3 ft.Process Description Married Process The process begins with the gasification of a coal/water slurry. A 733 gpm. Equipment Conveyor: Transports ground coal to be combined with water. Agitator/Mixer: Blends coal and water mixture for gasification. Reduces 56. The quenched vapor passes into a flash drum in order to remove the lighter gases from the process. 300 hp pump with a pressure differential of 625 psi pushes slurry to gasification Gasifier: Transforms coal slurry into highly pressurized and hot gas by utilizing high heat fluxes. 175 hp pump with a pressure differential of 625 psi directs slurry for pyrolysis. Lo-Steam Pump: Increases pressure of water entering Split Heat exchanger. Finally the product enters a flash drum held close to standard conditions in order to collect and store the liquid fuel produced. temperature. A 289 gpm.264 ft/s moves 117. Coal Slurry Pump: Increases pressure of slurry to direct flow towards gasifier. Pyrolysis Chamber: Transforms biomass slurry to bio-oil through high pressure. 7 . 30 hp pump with a pressure differential of 147 psi directs water for vaporization. The exiting vapor runs through two cyclones to remove the by-product char.76 lb/s of biomass to pieces with high surface area to volume ratios. Then the raw gas exits and begins to heat up a biomass/water slurry and initiates the process of pyrolysis. Rotary Cutter: Reduces size of incoming biomass to facilitate pyrolysis. while cooling 102. 1. A 10ft long. to produce saturated steam. A 413 gpm. A 572 ft3 reactor with inner refractory operating at a temperature of 932F and 640 psia. From the exit of the cyclones the vapor is then quenched to prepare for hydro treating. A 2ft wide agitator rotating at 100 rev/min distributes coal through out the slurry. 20 hp pump with a pressure differential of 73 psi directs water for vaporization. which causes secondary reactions and is soluble in bio oil. A 350 gpm. Biomass Slurry Pump: Pumps biomass slurry into pyrolysis chamber. Large enough to accommodate 366 ft3/s of vapor with an efficiency of 90% Hi-Steam Pump: Increases pressure of water entering Quench Heat exchanger.

siphons off liquid fuels. allows time for liquid particles to dropout of vapor stream. In the last step the product is directed to a flash drum. It then passes into a flash drum to remove light gases. Pyrolysis Chamber: Transforms fluidized biomass to bio-oil through high pressure.76 lb/s of biomass to pieces with high surface area to volume ratios.Split Heat Exchanger: Lowers temperature to utilize waste heat before vapor flash drum. while cooling 13. A 600 ft3 tank. Upgrade Vessel: High pressure and high temperature vessel which promotes intermolecular interaction to break down large hydrocarbon molecules. Split Flash Drum: Used to promote vapor-liquid separation. a temperature of 350F. where liquid product is extracted and stored.and a pressure of 640 psi.000 gpm of pyrolysis vapor from 500F to 350F. This vapor subsequently passes through a cyclone to remove char particles travelling along. A 500 ft3 tank. It is then rapidly cooled to slow secondary reactions and prepare for upgrading. A 72 ft3 reactor with inner refractory operating at a temperature of 932F and 640 psia. kept at a temperature of 450F and a pressure of 640 psi. Cyclones: Used for solid particle removal from pyrolysis vapor stream. and heat flux conditions. Split Flash Drum: Used to promote vapor-liquid separation. heated. while cooling 66. Equipment Rotary Cutter: Reduces size of incoming biomass to facilitate pyrolysis. Recovery Flash Drum: Used for liquid fuel extraction. temperature. This slurry is then pyrolized through the usage of syngas later in the process and heat generated from the combustion of solid byproducts. Direct Process Biomass is reduced in size and then added to water to produce homogenous biomass/water slurry.000 gpm of pyrolysis vapor from 932F to 500F. 10 hp pump with a pressure differential of 147 psi directs water for vaporization. which maintains a liquid level of 50%. Reduces 56. a temperature of350F. A 101 gpm. which maintains a liquid level of 50%. is maintained at atmospheric pressure and 100F. in which compounds collide and reform into usable fuel. before being upgraded in a combined F-T and hydro treating vessel. to produce saturated steam. 8 . A 2400 ft3 tank. Large enough to accommodate 29 ft3/s of vapor with an efficiency of 90% Hi-Steam Pump: Increases pressure of water entering Quench Heat exchanger. and recycled back into the pyrolysis chamber. A 713 ft3 tank. to produce saturated steam. Quench Heat Exchanger: Lowers temperature rapidly to minimize side reaction from occurring. which are then compressed. allows time for liquid particles to dropout of vapor stream. A 3900 ft2 heat exchanger vaporizes 351 gpm of 87 psia water. and a pressure of 640 psi. A 275 ft2 heat exchanger vaporizes 101 gpm of 161 psia water.

For each of the process vessels. is maintained at atmospheric pressure and 100F. in order to take advantage of all of the heat exchanger area present. A 2000 ft3 tank. kept at a temperature of 450F and a pressure of 640 psi. For the heat exchangers a control loop regulates the entrance of the condensate. heat exchangers. Temperature is measured at the exit of the vessel and the entering flow rate is adjusted to meet specifications. A 260 ft3 tank. which measures the exit of the tube side. For the fired heater a temperature loop that measure the temperature exiting the pyrolysis chamber regulates the amount of heat provided to the vapor recycle stream. and flash drums pressure and temperature are maintained using control loops with control valve place in line. is placed in line with a control valve to control flow rates entering and insure the necessary temperature drops. A temperature transmitter. For process vessels and flash drums a liquid level loop is included to regulate what enters and exit the vessel. in which compounds collide and reform into usable fuel. For the pyrolysis chamber a control valve is placed at its exit to control the production of the entire process. siphons off liquid fuels. A control loop is placed on the vapor exit line to control pressure within.Upgrade Vessel: High pressure and high temperature vessel which promotes intermolecular interaction to break down large hydrocarbon molecules. Recovery Flash Drum: Used for liquid fuel extraction. a flow meter measures the production of bio-oil while a controller modifies the valve position to maintain product quantity. Process Control Strategy Preventing loss of containment is the principle that drives the entire process control strategy. 9 . by varying the previous pump. Another control loop is placed in the exit of the shell line in order to maintain a pressure balance and promote vaporization of steam.

Safety 10 .

Environmental 11 .

Utility Summary Operating Cost Summary Equipment Information Summary 12 .

Capital Estimate 13 .

Economic Analysis 14 .

Innovation & Optimization 15 .

References 16 .

Engineering Calculations 17 .

Computer Programs 18 .

Computer Process Simulations 19 .

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