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Life Cycle Assessment of Different End Use of Biomass Gasification

Products in Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam (POR) serves as the energy hub of Europe, where
a huge quantity of oil and coal are received and converted into electricity,
fuels, and chemical products by various plants in the port area. The Dutch
government has set an ambitious target to increase the share of
renewable resources in the national energy mix to 16% by 2020. Woody
biomass shows the potential as sustainable energy feedstock. Hence this
study evaluates the environmental impacts of different utilization path of
bio-syngas produced from forest residues as energy carrier. Syngas
conversion into synthetic natural gas (SNG) and pure hydrogen are chosen
considering the existing infrastructure in POR. Torrefied and non-torrefied
wood pellets are studied to check the effect of different pretreatment
processes on the environmental performance of the biofuels. Comparison
with the fossil-based natural gas as reference case is also conducted. The
evaluation is carried out using Life Cycle Assessment with CMLCA software
with cradle to grave approach. The data for gasification is scaled up from
experimental results carried out in Process and Energy TU Delft. Ecoinvent
2.0 database is used for the background processes. The climate change,
eutrophication, and acidification potential are selected as the
environmental impacts to be considered. The SNG production shows better
environmental performance in terms of climate change potential
compared with the hydrogen production. The syngas cleaning phase is the
biggest CO2eq emitter for both routes with contribution ranging from 50 to
70% over the whole life cycle of SNG and H 2. Biomass storage is the
second biggest green house gases emitter due to the release of CH 4 and
N2O with contribution ranging from 15 to 40% depending on the storage
duration. Thus the source of electricity for conversion processes and the
period of biomass storage are the parameters mostly affecting the
environmental performance of forest residues as energy resource. There is
no notable difference on the results due to the torrefaction of the biomass
feedstock. Compared with the natural gas reference case with 576 kg CO 2climate change potential, the bio-SNG and bio-H 2 exhibit worse
performance in all three impact categories studied even in the best-case
scenario with climate change potential of 656 kg CO 2-eq as well as the
eutrophication potential and acidification potential of two times and three
times higher respectively. It is concluded that SNG and H 2 productions
from bio-syngas still need improvement on some process parameters in
order to be viable alternatives for the natural gas and hydrogen grid in
POR in terms of environmental performance.