Techno-economic and carbon emissions analysis of biomass torrefaction downstream in international bioenergy supply chains for co-firing

Athanasios A. Rentizelas, Jun Li

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Abstract

Ambitious renewable energy targets in European countries drive an increasing biomass demand to a point where domestic resources are insufficient, leading to emergence of international bioenergy supply chains. This work aims to examine the feasibility of biomass torrefaction downstream in long-distance international bioenergy supply chains for co-firing and to investigate the effect of various biomass co-firing ratios on the whole supply and energy conversion system performance from a technical, environmental and economic aspect. A techno-economic analysis together with a CO2 emissions assessment is performed, adopting a whole systems approach. In particular, Palm Kernel Shell biomass from Malaysia is considered for co-firing in UK. Findings indicate that downstream torrefaction is profitable under the current conditions for 100% biomass and marginally unprofitable for 50% biomass co-firing. The financial yield exhibits high sensitivity on the price of coal, biomass, Renewable Obligation Certificates, the torrefaction facility investment and biomass sea transportation costs. From an environmental perspective, higher co-firing ratios lead to higher emissions per unit of renewable energy generated. The findings can support policy makers and investors in adopting lower biomass co-firing ratios with torrefaction instead of 100% biomass conversion, leading to improved environmental benefits from a whole system’s perspective
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy
Volume114
Early online date10 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

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Keywords

  • torrefaction
  • biomas
  • supply chain
  • co-firing
  • power generation
  • carbon emissions

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