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Co-production of hydrogen and electricity from lignocellulosic biomass: Process design and thermo-economic optimization

Tock, Laurence, Maréchal, François
Energy 2012 v.45 no.1 pp. 339-349
biomass, burning, carbon dioxide, combustion, electricity, energy, gasification, heat, hydrogen, hydrogen production, lignocellulose, models, process design, production costs, renewable energy sources, steam
The thermochemical production of hydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass is systematically analyzed by developing thermo-environomic models combining thermodynamics with economic analysis, process integration techniques and optimization strategies for the conceptual process design. H₂ is produced by biomass gasification and subsequent gas treatment, followed by H₂ purification via CO₂ removal. It is shown how the overall efficiency is improved by considering process integration and computing the optimal integration of combined heat and power production. In the conversion process, electricity can be generated in steam and gas turbine cycles using the combustion of the off-gases and recovering available process heat. Additional electricity can be produced by burning part of the H₂-rich intermediate or of the purified H₂ product. The trade-off between H₂ and electricity co-production and H₂ or electricity only generation is assessed with regard to energy, economic and environmental considerations. Based on multi-objective optimization, the most promising options for the polygeneration of hydrogen, power and heat are identified with regard to different process configurations. The best compromise between efficiency, H₂ and/or electricity production cost and CO₂ capture is identified. Biomass based H₂ and electricity reveal to be a competitive alternative in a future sustainable energy system.