Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Bioresource Technology 101:10 (May 2010), pp. 3696–3701; doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2009.12.103


Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Thermochemical gasification is one of the most promising technologies for converting biomass into power, fuels and chemicals. The objectives of this study were to maximize the net energy efficiency for biomass gasification, and to estimate the cost of producing industrial gas and combined heat and power (CHP) at a feedrate of 2000 kg/h. Aspen Plusbased model for gasification was combined with a CHP generation model, and optimized using corn stover and dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) as the biomass feedstocks. The cold gas efficiencies for gas production were 57% and 52%, respectively, for corn stover and DDGS. The selling price of gas was estimated to be $11.49 and $13.08/GJ, respectively, for corn stover and DDGS. For CHP generation, the electrical and net efficiencies were as high as 37% and 88%, respectively, for corn stover and 34% and 78%, respectively, for DDGS. The selling price of electricity was estimated to be $0.1351 and $0.1287/kW h for corn stover and DDGS, respectively. Overall, high net energy efficiencies for gas and CHP production from biomass gasification can be achieved with optimized processing conditions. However, the economical feasibility of these conversion processes will depend on the relative local prices of fossil fuels.