Decarbonisation Technology May 2022 Issue

syncrude components are different for different FT technologies and catalysts. An FT operated at high temperature yields a syncrude containing light gases, LPG, naphtha, distillate, and aqueous products. Residue/wax, distillate, and naphtha are the major components yielded by a low-temperature FT plant. For both cases, an upgrade or a syncrude refining is needed to produce a more valuable product slate. The waste energy related to the generation of syngas with the heat produced in the FT synthesis is generally recovered as steam and converted into electric power for internal use and export. Thus, electric power is typically a by-product of the current FT processes. The energy adds to the product slate and contributes a source of revenue. Economics The economics of an FT plant are strongly affected by the cost of the carbon-bearing feedstock, the cost of CO 2 emissions, the product pricing, and the facility's capital cost. The cost of feedstock is a sizable component of operating costs, yet its price cannot be controlled because it is source dependent and on the distance from the production and harvesting (or collection and separation of biowaste) sites to the FT facility: the greater the distance, the higher the feedstock transportation costs. The latter is part of the key to biomass price at the fence of the FT plant and, ultimately, to its profitability. It is worth noting that the SAFs produced by an FT plant are rich in alkanes and may command a price premium depending upon the end users. For example, an extra price is paid for FT-naphtha when used in the petrochemical industry because it gives a higher yield of ethylene than that derived from petroleum. Russian refineries typically blend diesel with an additive to adjust the cetane number. As FT- diesels have a cetane number of 73, compared

to 51 in diesel that meets the EN-590 standard, it can command an extra premium on account of the additive savings it delivers when FT-diesel is blended in the diesel pool. Analysis of the existing FT plant shows that these facilities are capital expensive. Indeed, the capital expenditure for industrial running natural gas FT plants, which benefit from the most favourable technical and economic conditions, ranges from $100,000 bbl/d to $146,000 bbl/d. The capital-intensive character of these industrial installations calls for large-scale production to achieve the economy of scale. In fact, today’s commercial plant capacity spans from 15,000 bbl/d to 146,000 bbl/d. For the case study below, the total cost of the investment was estimated at 174,320 $/bbl/d. The total cost of investment for a biomass FT plant might be significantly higher relative to the current FT plants because biomass impacts several parts of the line-up of the syngas production and FT synthesis system. More specifically, biomass requires: • More extensive feedstock handling and preparation • Application of a slagging entrained flow gasifier, which includes all solids handling, is typically 50% more expensive than a natural gas reformer • About 50% higher oxygen demand, i.e. 50% larger ASU capacity is required • Need for pre-combustion carbon capture to remove the higher load of CO 2 . Therefore, robust R&D programmes are needed – in addition to selecting the optimal site location – to reduce the investment cost and open the window of the economic viability of BTL-FT technology for supplying sustainable fuels to the transport sector. That is the objective of the GLycerol to Aviation and Marine products with sustainable Recycling (GLAMOUR) project. The project has received funding from the European

Proximate analysis

Ultimate analysis (wt%, dry basis)

Fixed carbon (wt%)

Volatile matter (wt%)

Ash (wt%)

Moisture (wt%)

LHV (MJ/kg)

HHV (MK/kg)

Carbon Hydrogen Oxygen Nitrogen Sulphur Ash

18.1 61.6 5.30 15.0 14.5 15,935 47

5.72 40.2 0.86

0.09 6.19

Table 1 Biomass main properties


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