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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Biomass catalytic pyrolysis: process design and economic analysis

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The estimation of catalytic pyrolysis oil (CPO) production cost in a biomass catalytic pyrolysis (BCP) process is the objective of this study. Experiments carried out with a woody biomass (Beechwood) and a commercially available ZSM‐5 catalyst in a circulating fluid bed (CFB) reactor are the basis for the design of a commercial unit. In the CFB unit, the catalytic pyrolysis step takes place at 482°C and at a catalyst to biomass ratio of 15–20. Following this step, the vapor temperature exiting the reactor is cooled from 482 to 340°C by recovering energy for steam production. The vapors are condensed in two quench towers with recirculated oil and water. Following water separation, the CPO flows to storage. A commercial scale process was designed for a capacity of 180,000 metric tons (MT) per year (8 wt% moisture, 0.54 wt% ash) or 500 MT/day of moisture ash free (MAF) biomass (90% operating factor). The projected costs are valid only for an nth plant and they underestimate the cost for a first of its kind plant. Following procedures used for estimating investment and operating costs for a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), it is found that for BCP the estimated cost of producing CPO with 18 wt% oxygen is 615 US$/MT or 22 US$/GJ. A sensitivity analysis showed that the price of CPO could vary from 615 to 841 US$/MT (22–31 US$/GJ). On a crude oil energy equivalent basis, the bio‐oil cost lies in the range of 36–49 US$/GJ. WIREs Energy Environ 2016, 5:370–383. doi: 10.1002/wene.192 This article is categorized under: Bioenergy > Science and Materials
Schematic diagram of the CPERI biomass catalytic pyrolysis pilot plant.
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Block diagram of biomass catalytic pyrolysis.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

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