Bio-fuels and Bio-energy

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					  Bio-fuels and Bio-energy

How do                            into
 we fit                          this…

          Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
                What are bio-fuels?
  Bio-fuels are liquid fuels for transportation or industry
              that are produced from biomass.
                      So what is biomass?
    Biomass is any organic material that is living or at one
       time was living. Technically, you are biomass!

Wood Waste          Agricultural                                 Energy Crops
                Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
Recently, a number of bio-fuels have been in
                the news.

  Fuel                  Use                                      Production
Ethanol      • Blended with gasoline up          • Fermentation of starchy or sugary
               to 85%                              biomass
             • Used in spark engine with         • Gasification and catalytic synthesis
               minor modifications                 of woody biomass

Bio-diesel   • Blended with mineral              • Transesterification of vegetable oils
               diesel or pure bio-diesel         • Requires 10% by mass alcohol
             • Used in diesel engines              (methanol or ethanol)
               with minor modifications

Methanol     • Used in spark engines             • Gasification and catalytic synthesis
               with minor modifications            of woody biomass

                      Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
          Why do we care about bio-fuels?
                      Answer #1: Energy Security

                   We consumes a lot of foreign oil…
    • The US consumes 20.25 million barrels of oil each day
    • The US consumes much more oil than it produces. We import more than
      50% of the oil we consume, 11.8 millions barrels each day

              … and the transportation sector runs on oil.
    • 66% of oil consumed (13.6 million barrels each day) are used by the
      transportation sector (cars, trucks, air planes, motorcycles, etc.)
    • 98% of all energy consumed by the transportation sector is oil!

Bio-fuels can’t eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, but they can help.

                       Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
           Why do we care about bio-fuels?
                        Answer #2: Climate Change

Production and use of bio-fuels does not generate greenhouse gases

Biomass harvested and brought to                                Growth of biomass consumes
bio-fuel plant                                                  same amount of CO2

                                                                                    Driving emits

                          Lifecycle is carbon neutral

              Bio-fuel produced                             Bio-fuel used in cars

                        Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
        Why do we care about bio-fuels?
                  Answer #3: Local Resources

Washington State has abundant locally available feedstocks for the
                     production of bio-fuels

        Wood Waste for                            Oil Crops (e.g. canola)
     Ethanol and Methanol                              for Bio-diesel

                   Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
                 Why do we care about bio-fuels?
                                    Answer #4: Price

       Price of gasoline and diesel continues to rise due to tightness in
      global oil supplies. Bio-fuels could relieve some market pressure.



  Gasoline       200
(cents/gallon)   150



                  Apr-93   Jan-96          Oct-98         Jul-01       Mar-04

                           Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
The Energy and Environmental Combustion lab
 has been studying a number of bio-fuel issues

    Bio-fuels from forest thinnings
        ―Technology challenges to production of
        bio-fuels from forest thinnings
        ―Economics of production and logistics

    Vashon Island energy independence
      ― Assessed biomass resource on island
      ― Selection of candidate technologies for
        conversion to heat and power

    Pyrolysis oil combustion studies
      ― Development of atomizer for clean
        combustion of heavy pyrolysis oils
      ― Pyrolysis oil is a promising non-
        transportation bio-fuel
               Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
               Production of bio-fuels from wood waste is of particular
                         interest, but is a complex process!
                                  Methanol Production from Wood Waste                                                                       Le ge nd

                                     Power                Flue Gas     Power                    Power, Heat                            Solid Phase

                                                                                                                                       Gas Phase

                                                                                                                                       Liquid Phase
Gasification                     Coarse Sizing                  Drying                            Gasifier
                                                                                                                                         Primary Path
                                                             Heat                                                                      Input or Secondary Path
                                                                                                Aux. Power
                                                              Pile Burner                                                      Dirty Syngas

                  Catalyst                                                                        Water                          Power

  Gas           Catalytic Tar                                Bag Filtration
                                                                                                 Wet Gas
Cleaning                         Multi-cyclone                                                   Cleaning
                 Cracking                                      (350o C)                                                       Compression
                                                                                                  (100o C)

                                Particulate > 5μm           Particulate > 2μm,          Residual Contaminants,
                                                              Alkali Metals                  Waste Water                                  Clean Syngas

                    Steam           Steam                        Power                            Power       Purge
                                                                                                               Gas          Power
Methanol                                                                                                                                                Heat
Synthesis      Steam Reformer   Water-Gas Shift              CO2 Removal
                   (890o C)        (330o C)                    (127o C)
                                                                                                  (260o C)
                                                                            CO2 , Acid Gasses
                                     Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
            The process works, but has a serious
                    economic problem

 Lots of Equipment                    Large Facility                          Long Lifetime
                                    (1000+ tons wood/day)

 • High temperatures and          • Large facility needed to     • Facility needs to operate
   pressures require heavy           bring down unit costs of      for at least fifteen
                                                                   (preferably more etc.
  None of these are economic “showstoppers”. Power plants, refineries, than
   reaction vessels                  equipment (economies of
 • Complex, multi-stage fossil fuels scale)
                      for                                          twenty) years to justify
                                     all require economies of scale.
   process                        • Cost to construct a facility   the high construction cost
                                     will initially be very high

But can we get a                       … for a long  … without
 lot of this …                           time …     spending a lot
                                                       of this?

                             Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
           Bio-fuel production is dependent on the
              availability of low-cost feedstock
   Wood waste has
   very low density
                                   Economic Collection Radius

                  • More expensive, nearby waste                        Increasing distance or cost
                  • More distant, cheap waste
                  • Marginal economics for
 Transporting wood production of methanol                                    • Distant or expensive
waste long distances is                                                        waste
    uneconomic                                                               • Unprofitable
                                                                               production of

  Usually, not enough     • Cheap, nearby wood waste
  nearby or low-cost      • Profitable production of methanol               Methanol production
   wood to operate                                                               facility
      profitably           Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
So if the waste can’t be brought to the facility, can
        the facility be brought to the waste?

             Small Modular Biopower Systems

                                  Go to the source and produce
                                  higher density, higher value bio-
                                  fuels on site?

                                  Maybe for electricity generation,
                                  but not for methanol…
                                     — Pressures and temperatures required
                                       make mobilization difficult
                                     — Amount of equipment required
                                       means huge penalties for severe

              Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
   But there may be another way around the problem
             – using bio-fuel intermediates
What do you mean by an               Convert wood waste to a high
intermediate?                        density fuel – but not necessarily a
                                     high-value fuel
What’s the point of making           High density fuel could be
an intermediate?                     transported to centralized plant at
                                     much lower cost than wood waste
What happens to the                  At the centralized plant, upgraded
intermediate?                        to high-value bio-fuel using
                                     complex process
What processes are suitable          Low cost, mobile, modular process
for making intermediates?            producing a high-density fuel

                   Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
            An example of this would be production of
           pyrolysis oil and then upgrading to methanol

                    1. Logging operations                                        Economics
                     generate wood waste in
                     the forest                                                 unproven in
                                                                             practice, but seem
                    Logging Operation                                           much more
                                                                              promising than
                                 2. Wood waste gathered in the forest
                                  and converted to pyrolysis oil
                                                                             other approaches
     Logging Road                   – Pyrolysis oil production is
                                      relatively low cost
                                    – Moderate temperature and
                                      atmospheric pressure
                                    – Produces a low-value, but high
                                      density liquid fuel                  3. Pyrolysis oil from many forests
                                                                            brought to centralized plant for
                                                                            methanol production
                               Major Road                                      – Allows large-scale plant without
                                                                                 feedstock logistics problems
                                                                               – Low-value feedstock converted
                                                                                 to high-value fuel
                                 Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
  Also opens the door for “bio-refining” – recovering
         high-value chemicals from biomass
Say someone gives you a pile of gold, silver, and copper
coins that have been glued together. Do you:
  A) Melt down the entire pile and sell it as scrap metal?

  B) Find some glue solvent and separate the gold and silver?

When we produce bio-fuels from “wood waste”, we choose
Option A. Smart, eh?
Bio-refining is Option B. Wood naturally contains small
quantities of expensive chemicals.
        Bio-refining needs even more equipment than methanol
        production, so need even more feedstock!
                   Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory
Bio-fuel intermediates could
open the door for high-value
 bio-refining of Washington
state’s unused wood “waste”

         Thank you

       Energy and Environmental Combustion Laboratory

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