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Biomass gasification 593

Jens Buchgeister1 Research Article


1
Karlsruhe Institute of
Technology, Institute for
Exergoenvironmental Analysis - A New
Technology Assessment and
Systems Analysis, Eggenstein-
Approach to Support the Design for
Leopoldshafen, Germany.
Environment of Chemical Processes?
The design of environmental-effective energy conversion processes can be pro-
vided by exergoenviromental analysis which is a new method supporting the de-
sign for environment. It combines an exergy analysis with a life cycle assessment
(LCA) to determine thermodynamic efficiency and formation of environmental
impacts on plant components. The exergoenvironmental approach is used to
assign environmental impacts to all energy and material flows as well as thermo-
dynamic inefficiencies within each process component. The analysis reveals the
interdependencies between thermodynamic behavior and environmental impacts
and between process components. Presenting an example of electricity produc-
tion using a high-temperature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) with an integrated
allothermal biomass gasification process, exergoenvironmental analysis is de-
scribed and the environmentally most relevant process components are identified.
Furthermore, the result of the exergoenvironmental analysis is discussed with
regard to utilization for process design and optimization in chemical production.

Keywords: Biomass gasification, Design for environment, Exergoenvironmental analysis,


Exergy, Life cycle assessment
Received: January 12, 2010; revised: February 5, 2010; accepted: February 8, 2010
DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201000006

1 Introduction the design process. The definition of “exergy” for a thermody-


namic second-law analysis is made by Rant in the Fifties [5].
Besides the needed chemical substances the operation of chem- The knowledge about the advantages of an exergy analysis has
ical plants requires in general an amount of energy or different transfered practically in textbooks on thermodynamics [6–8].
energy conversion processes as auxiliary power unit. For this It is a fact that increase in inefficiencies always leads to a
reason, the design process of chemical plants is supported by a higher consumption of fuel, resulting in increasing environ-
mass and energy flow analysis to estimate the costs [1–4]. mental impacts but also costs. On the other hand, minimiza-
The material and energy flow analysis based on the first law tion of inefficiencies could increase the materials and energy
of thermodynamics disregards the loss of quality of energy. For needed for the construction of a component, e.g., the area of a
example, the change of the quality of thermal energy when it is heat exchanger. These life cycle-related effects of components
converted from a higher to a lower temperature can not be and the resulting impact on the environment (and costs)
shown. Therefore, the conventional energy analysis has to be should be taken into account by system analysis for design
enhanced with an exergy (or thermodynamic second-law) optimization. The consideration of these life cycle-related
analysis in order to assess the performance of energy conver- effects in methodological work for an environmentally friendly
sion or chemical processes. Only an exergy analysis can identi- design started by Szargut. He suggested the cumulative exergy
fy the specific irreversibilities (or thermodynamic inefficien- consumption (CExC) as an environmental indicator to reduce
cies) and is uniquely required to provide guidance needed in the consumption of natural resources [9]. CExC presents the
calculation of exergy of energy carriers and raw materials (or
nonrenewable resources) along the life cycle. Based on this
– approach further methodological extensions are carried out,
Correspondence: J. Buchgeister (Jens.Buchgeister@kit.edu), Karlsruhe but none of these published methods, however, takes into
Institute of Technology, Institute for Technology Assessment and account either the complete life cycle of components [10–18]
Systems Analysis, Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, D-76344 Eggen- or all released emissions [19–23] as defined for a product life
stein-Leopoldshafen, Germany. cycle assessment (LCA).

Chem. Eng. Technol. 2010, 33, No. 4, 593–602 © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim www.cet-journal.com
594 J. Buchgeister

The LCA is an internationally standardized method for the exergy is characterized as a property describing the quality of
analysis of consumption and emission of material and energy energy.
flows from all process steps within the product life cycle which First, for exergy analysis the boundaries of the system to be
leads to a life cycle inventory (LCI) result [24]. Ideally, the sys- analyzed and the components involved must be defined. All
tem should be modeled in such a manner that inputs and out- relevant system sub-units that have a productive purpose
puts at its boundary (the environment) are calculated. How- should be regarded as separate components [8, 29]. Next, the
ever, due to the methodological framework of the LCA, to exergy values of all material and energy flows within the sys-
determine the environmental impact of an investigated system tem must be determined. The exergy of the material flows can
with a material and energy flow analysis based on the first be calculated as the sum of their chemical and physical exergy
thermodynamic law it is impossible to point out the thermo- values, while kinetic and potential exergies can be neglected.
dynamic inefficiencies in the system under study. The calculation of exergy values is discussed in [30].
The mentioned problems are solved by an exergoeconomic In exergy analysis, each component k is characterized by the
analysis, published, e.g., in [8, 25, 26]. A similar problem to definition of its exergy of product E_ P;k and fuel E_ F;k as shown
that discussed here arises during the economic assessment of in Fig. 1. Calculation of fuel and product is carried out accord-
energy conversion processes: in general, improving the ther- ing to the exergetic and economic purposes of the k-th compo-
modynamic efficiency of a component reduces the fuel costs. nent and is based on the SPECO approach [29]. After calculat-
On the other hand, changes in the design of a component may ing the exergy of fuel and the exergy of product, the remaining
result in higher costs of construction or maintenance. To find exergetic variables can be calculated for each system compo-
an optimum, fuel costs must be allocated to the respective nent [8]. These include exergetic efficiency and exergy destruc-
component. The application of the exergoeconomic analysis tion.
helps in understanding the cost-formation process and the
flow of costs in an energy conversion system, and, therefore,
for the design of a cost-effective system.
The combination of an exergy analysis with an LCA is a con-
version of the exergoeconomic analysis and is called exergoen-
vironmental analysis [27, 28]. It has been developed in order
to find out to which extent each component of an energy con-
version system is responsible for the overall environmental
impact, and it identifies the sources of the impact.
In the following, the steps of exergoenvironmental analysis
Figure 1. Basic exergy balance of component k.
in general are described and a case study on electricity produc-
tion by means of SOFC with integrated allothermal biomass
gasification is presented. It is an example whether this method The exergetic efficiency of the k-th component is defined as
could support the design for environment also of chemical the ratio between the exergies of product and fuel. It was intro-
processes. duced earlier by Grassmann in the Fifties [31].

E_ P;k
ek ˆ (1)
2 Methodology of the E_ F;k
Exergoenvironmental Analysis
The exergy destruction E_ D;k in the k-th component is a di-
The concept of exergoenvironmental analysis consists mainly rect measure of thermodynamic inefficiencies. It is calculated
of the following three steps [27, 28]: (i) exergy analysis of the as:
investigated system; (ii) LCA of each system component and of
each input flow; (iii) assignment of environmental impacts to E_ D;k ˆ E_ F;k E_ P;k (2)
each exergy flow. Subsequently, exergoenvironmental variables
are calculated and an exergoenvironmental evaluation is car- Exergy analysis gives answers to the question of where ther-
ried out. With the aid of the system evaluation, the most im- modynamic inefficiencies occur in the system. In addition, it
portant components with the highest environmental impact reveals their rates and causes. Moreover, exergy analysis puts
can be identified. all process components on the same physical basis to deter-
mine the functional interrelationship between components.

2.1 Exergy Analysis


2.2 Environmental Analysis
The exergy of a system is the maximum obtainable, theoretical,
useful work as the system is brought into complete thermody- An LCA of the total system must include the supply of the
namic equilibrium with the thermodynamic environment input flows, especially fuel, and cover the full life cycle of com-
while the system interacts only with this environment [5–8]. ponents. It is necessary to extend the exergy process model
This means that energy which has a high convertibility poten- with the pre-chain of each input flow and the full life cycle of
tial is said to contain a high share of exergy. In other words, each component. Ideally, the system should be modeled in

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Biomass gasification 595

such a manner that inputs and outputs (the life cycle inven- 2.3.1 Definitions
tory) at its boundary (the environment) are calculated.
The inventory result calculated for the life cycle processes in- The environmental impact rate B_ j is the environmental impact
vestigated is based on the general physical laws of conservation expressed in Eco-indicator points per time unit (Pts/s or
for energy and mass. Then, based on the LCI result, the envi- mPts/s). The specific (exergy-based) environmental impact bj
ronmental impacts are calculated for various impact categories is the average environmental impact associated with the pro-
by a quantitative impact assessment method. An impact cate- duction of the j-th flow per exergy unit of the same flow (Pts
gory describes the impact pathway between the LCI results and or mPts/GJ exergy). The environmental impact rate B_ j of the
their environmental endpoint(s) or so-called areas of protec- material flow j is the product of its exergy rate E_ j and the spe-
tion, i.e., the receptors that are damaged. It includes a cause- cific environmental impact bj :
effect chain (environmental mechanism) by using quantitative
characterization indicators based on an environmental model. B_ j ˆ E_ j  bj (3)
For the methodological development of exergoenvironmental
analysis, a single-score life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) The environmental impact rate B_ j can also be calculated
method, namely Eco-indicator 99, is chosen [32]. It is an LCIA _ j:
using the specific exergy ej and the mass flow rate m
method to support decision-making in a design for environ- B_ j ˆ m
_ j  ej  bj (4)
ment. The structure and the considered environmental aspects
are displayed in Fig. 2. Depending on the system or component being analyzed, it
The impact categories cover the width of environmental may be useful to distinguish between physical and chemical
aspects and model environmental damage of three damage exergy. In this case, a specific environmental impact for each
categories: human health, ecosystem quality, and natural re- exergy component must be known in order to calculate the
sources. The characterization model for each impact category environmental impact rate B_ j or the average specific environ-
is determined in detail in [32]. In a last step, the three damage mental impact bj :
categories are normalized and weighted, with the result being
expressed as Eco-indicator points, where higher damage is B_ j ˆ B_ CH
j ‡ B_ PH
j ˆ bCH _ CH ‡ bPH
j Ej
_ PH _
j Ej ˆ bj Ej (5a)
reflected by a higher Eco-indicator value. Besides the selected
Eco-indicator 99, other LCIA methods exist which are dis-
where
cussed in literature [33, 34]. A comparative investigation of
exergoenvironmental analysis using Eco-indicator 99 and E_ j ˆ EPH ‡ ECH (5b)
CML 2001 as LCIA method is presented in [35].
The environmental impact rates associated with heat Q_ and
_ are calculated as follows:
work W
2.3 Exergoenvironmental Variables and Evaluation
B_ q ˆ bq  E_ q (6)
In the third step the LCA results (expressed as Eco-indicator
points) are assigned to the corresponding exergy flows. _
B_ w ˆ bw  W (7†

Figure 2. General structure and model of the life cycle impact assessment method – Eco-indicator 99.

Chem. Eng. Technol. 2010, 33, No. 4, 593–602 © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim www.cet-journal.com
596 J. Buchgeister

The exergy rate associated with a heat transfer is calculated The LCA provides the environmental impact for each com-
using the following equation: ponent and itself is made up of the three life cycle phases con-
! struction (CO), operation and maintenance (OM), and dispo-
T0 _ sal (DI). The sum of all component-related environmental
E_ q ˆ 1 Q (8) impacts is Y_ k as shown in Eq. (12):
Tj

Y_ k ˆ Y_ kCO ‡ Y_ kOM ‡ Y_ kDI (12)


Here, T0 is the surrounding temperature and Tj is the tem-
perature at which the heat transfer crosses the boundary of the
Within the analyzed system, the direct emissions from a
system. For the exergy analysis of the case study it was as-
component are assigned to the operation and maintenance
sumed that all heat transfers to the environment take place at
phase. The construction phase includes manufacturing, trans-
T0 = Tj. Otherwise the temperature Tj is calculated through
port, and installation of a component. Eqs. (10) or (11) of the
simulation software. It could also be the thermodynamic aver-
environmental impact balance of a component cannot be
age temperature.
solved if the number of output flows and, therefore, the num-
ber of unknown variables is greater than one.
Considering the heat exchanger HX shown in Fig. 4 as an
2.3.2 Environmental Impact Balances and Auxiliary
example, the following equations for the environmental im-
Equations
pact balance are obtained:
From the results of the exergetic analysis and LCA, the specific
B_ 1 ‡ B_ 3 ‡ Y_ HX ˆ B_ 2 ‡ B_ 4 (13)
environmental impact bj can be calculated directly for input
flows (i.e., fuel flows) entering the overall system. Applying
Eq. (4), where B_ j is the result of LCA for the fuel (j-th flow) b1 E_ 1 ‡ b3 E_ 3 ‡ Y_ HX ˆ b2 E_ 2 ‡ b4 E_ 4 (14)
and E_ j is the exergy rate of the j-th input flow, bj is calculated
as follows:

B_ j;in
bj;in ˆ (9)
E_ j;in

The values for internal and output flows can only be ob-
tained by considering the functional relations among system
components. This is done by formulating environmental
impact balances and auxiliary equations. The environmental
impact balance for the k-th component states that the sum of Figure 4. Schematic structure of a heat exchanger HX.
environmental impact rates associated with all input flows plus
the component environmental impact rate is equal to the sum
To solve this problem, additional auxiliary equations are
of the environmental impact rates associated with all output
required by exergy analysis. In general, the number of neces-
flows as shown in Fig. 3. The equation is:
sary auxiliary equations is equal to the number of exiting flows
X
n X
m minus one. In exergoenvironmental analysis, auxiliary equa-
B_ j;k;in ‡ Y_ k ˆ B_ j;k;out (10) tions are developed in analogy to exergoeconomics by using
jˆ1 jˆ1
environmental impact rates instead of cost rates and applying
the F- and P-principles which refer to the definition of the
or exergies of fuel and product for a component [25, 29].
X
n  X
m  F-equations: To formulate these equations, the exergy flows
bj E_ j k;in
‡ Y_ k ˆ bj E_ j k;out
(11) are considered that supply a component with exergy. The
jˆ1 jˆ1 decrease of exergy in these flows within a component is part of
the exergetic fuel of a component. The specific
environmental impact of these flows remains con-
stant between input and output.
P-equations: To formulate a P-equation, exergy
flows are taken into consideration, the exergy con-
tent of which increases within a component. This
increase is part of the exergy of the product of the
component. Each exergy unit is supplied to all
these exergy flows with the same average specific
environmental impact bP;k .
The F-principle can be applied to the example of
the heat exchanger shown in Fig. 4 which operates
Figure 3. Environmental impact balance of component k. above the surrounding temperature. Exergy from

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Biomass gasification 597

the hot stream is transfered to the cold stream. The decrease in With Eqs. (16)–(18) the result for B_ dif ;dc is:
the exergy of the hot stream is the exergy of the fuel of the
component. According to the F-principle, the specific environ- B_ dif ;dc ˆ bin DE_ ‡ B_ aux ‡ Y_ dc (19)
mental impact of the hot stream remains constant:
The environmental impact rate associated with the DC can
b4 ˆ b3 (15) now be assigned to the productive component n served by the
DC. This is achieved by extending the component-related envi-
Because of this equation and of the decreased exergy rate of ronmental impact of the n-th productive component:
the hot stream, its environmental impact rate decreases
(B_ 4 < B_ 3 ). The difference (B_ 3 B_ 4 ) is assigned to the exiting Y_ n ˆ Y_ nCO ‡ Y_ nOM ‡ Y_ nDI ‡ B_ dif ;dc (20)
cold stream through the environmental impact balance.
When the environmental impact rates of each exergy flow in
a complex energy conversion system have to be calculated, it is
advisable to formulate a system of linear equations that com- 2.3.4 Calculation of Exergoenvironmental Variables
prises the environmental impact balances and auxiliary equa-
tions. The solution of this system of equations reveals the On the basis of the exergy and environmental impact rates and
unknown environmental impact rates and the corresponding the specific environmental impacts of each exergy flow in the
specific environmental impacts. process the exergoenvironmental variables can be calculated
for every process component. Only two exergoenvironmental
variables will be discussed here.
2.3.3 Treatment of Dissipative Components Within exergy analysis, the exergy destruction of each com-
ponent is calculated. The exergoenvironmental analysis allows
Often components without a productive or exergetic purpose to calculate the environmental impact rate B_ D;k associated with
are parts of a system. Examples for this type of components, the exergy destruction E_ D;k in the k-th component by applying
which are called dissipative components (DCs), are coolers, the following equation:
gas-cleaning units, or throttling valves operating entirely or
partially above the surrounding temperature. These compo- B_ D;k ˆ bF;k  E_ D;k (21)
nents decrease the exergy content of a flow without generating
an immediately useful effect. A product from the thermody- The exergy destruction rate is multiplied by average specific
namic viewpoint cannot be defined for these components environmental impacts of the exergetic fuel of the k-th compo-
which serve either other so-called productive components or nent bF;k . This value is calculated based on the definition of
the overall system directly [8]. The environmental impact due exergetic fuel and product within the exergy analysis.
to thermodynamic inefficiencies within a DC and the compo- The sum of the environmental impacts B_ TOT;k of the k-th
nent-related environmental impact should be charged to the component is calculated by adding the environmental impacts
productive components or to the product of the overall sys- of exergy destruction B_ D;k and the component-related environ-
tem, if this system is served directly by the DC. This approach mental impacts Y_ k :
is similar to the one used in exergoeconomics for DC [29]. In
each DC there is a decrease of exergy between input and out- B_ TOT;k ˆ B_ D;k ‡ Y_ k (22)
put:
This exergoenvironmental variable reveals the environmen-
DE_ ˆ E_ in E_ out (16) tal relevance of each component. The exergoenvironmental
evaluation is carried out applying the exergoenvironmental
variables. Based on the evaluation of the process and its com-
For a DC the environmental impact balance reads as fol- ponents, possibilities for an improvement with respect to the
lows: environmental performance can be developed. The exergoen-
vironmental analysis is shown in detail in [29, 37].
B_ out ‡ B_ dif ;dc ˆ B_ in ‡ B_ aux ‡ Y_ dc (17)

The environmental impact rates associated with the input 3 Application of Electricity Production
and output flows are B_ in and B_ out , respectively. B_ dif ;dc repre-
sents the net environmental impact associated with the DC For application of exergoenvironmental analysis a thermoche-
that needs to be assigned to other components. B_ aux is the net mical process for the conversion of biomass to electricity was
environmental impact associated with the use of auxiliary used. The details of the process can be found in [36]. The
fluids within the DC under consideration. Y_ dc represents the modeling of a similar process has been reported in [37, 38].
component-related environmental impact of the DC. Applica- Fig. 5 shows the flow chart of the process designed for electri-
tion of the F-principle to the specific environmental impacts city generation of 1 MW alternating current. The presented
bin and bout leads to: temperatures, pressures, and mole flow rates of the material
streams were obtained by modeling and simulation of the pro-
bout ˆ bin (18) cess described below.

Chem. Eng. Technol. 2010, 33, No. 4, 593–602 © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim www.cet-journal.com
598 J. Buchgeister

Figure 5. Flow chart of electricity production by means of biomass conversion process.

Biomass is fed to an allothermal fluidized bed gasifier that is current. Ambient air is fed to the air preheater (HX A1) by an
heated by an integrated burner. The flue gas of the solid oxide electric blower. Heat from the fuel cell exhaust air (1000 °C) is
fuel cell (SOFC), which contains nondepleted fuel, represents transfered to the outside air. The exhaust air from the SOFC is
the feedstock for the burner. The gasification agent is steam partly released to the environment and partly preheated in
generated within the process. At 750 °C the biomass is con- another heat exchanger (HX A5) to about 520 °C and fed to
verted to a raw gas which mainly consists of H2, CO, CO2, and the burner which is integrated into the gasifier. The hot stream
CH4. After leaving the gasifier, the raw gas enters the hot gas in the heat exchanger is the flue gas from the burner that has
cleaning facility at 650 °C. First it passes through a ceramic previously heated the gasifier. Water supply of the system is
particle filter and an adsorber. Char, bed material, and ash are provided by a pump that pressurizes water to 5 bar. Following
removed in the first component, halogen and sulfur com- this, steam is generated from the water in a heat exchanger
pounds are removed in the latter. Steam pulses periodically (HX ST) that transfers heat from the flue gas of the burner in-
clean the particle filter. After the adsorber, steam is added to tegrated into the gasifier. The gasifier model is based on a mass
the gas in a mixer (MIX) to adjust the steam-to-gas ratio to a and energy balance and on the reforming reactions. The fuel
value of 2.5 which is necessary for tar and methane reforming cell model has been adapted from a model for a tubular SOFC
and for preventing coke formation. Before the gas enters the recently published in [39]. Depending on gas composition and
tar reformer, it has to be heated from 470 °C to 900 °C to operating conditions, the power output as well as the condi-
enable the reforming reaction to take place. This is realized in tions and compositions of the exiting material flows of the fuel
a heat exchanger (HX G4) by transfering heat from the hot cell can be simulated.
anode flue gas (1000 °C) from the SOFC to the tar laden gas. The lifespan of all components is fixed at 100,000 h. This
The tar is completely reformed to lower hydrocarbons in the means that the plant generates 100,000 MWh electricity within
catalytic tar reformer. The clean gas is heated to 800 °C in an 15 years. Only the SOFC stack has to be exchanged
electric heater (Heat G6) before entering the anode side of the every 40,000 h. The system was modeled using Aspen+ process
SOFC. simulation software version 12.1 [40].
Preheated air (800 °C) is supplied to the SOFC at the cath-
ode. At an operation temperature of 1000 °C the fuel cell pro-
duces direct current by oxidizing hydrogen and carbon mon- 3.1 Result of the Exergy Analysis
oxide. Prior to that, methane was internally converted with
steam to H2 and CO. The fuel utilization factor in the SOFC is The process consists of the components shown in Fig. 5, each
69 %. The inverter converts the direct current to alternating one of which is considered separately in the exergy analysis

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Biomass gasification 599

and exergoenvironmental analysis. An exception is the inverter tribute only to a very small extent to the thermodynamic inef-
integrated into the SOFC. ficiencies of the process.
Calculation of the exergetic efficiencies is based on the defi- For the entire energy conversion process, the exergetic effi-
nitions of exergetic fuel and exergetic product listed in Tab. 1. ciency is:
In the case study the cleaning components (particle filter,
adsorber) and the inverter are dissipative components. The E_ P;tot
etot ˆ ˆ 33:7 % (23)
particle filter is assigned to the gasifier just like the adsorber E_ F;tot
and inverter are assigned to the SOFC.
An amount of 1.543 MW exergy is destroyed within the pro-
Table 1. Definitions of exergetic fuel and product of system com- cess and, in addition, a significant amount of 0.24 MW exergy
ponents. is released into the environment with the gasifier flue gas (flow
A4C) and 0.089 MW exergy with the SOFC exhaust air (flow
System comp. Exergetic prod. E_ P Exergetic fuel E_ F G13).
Gasifier E_ G1 E_ B0 E_ STH0 E_ G9 ‡ E_ A5 E_ G11

HX G4 E_ G4 E_ G3B E_ G7 E_ G8 3.2 Result of Life Cycle Assessment


Tar reform. E_ G4B
CH E_ G4
CH E_ G4
PH E_ G4B
PH
The system boundary of the LCA covers all system components
and their respective life cycles, as well as all input flows (bio-
HEAT G6 E_ G6 E_ G5 E_ WG5
mass, electricity, water) to the overall energy conversion sys-
HX A1 E_ A1 E_ A0B E_ A3 E_ A4 tem. The LCA of the system is modeled in the material flow
software Umberto [41].
SOFC E_ WP2 ‡ …E_ A3
PH
E_ A1
PH
† E_ A1
CH
E_ A3
CH
† For the case study the assumption was made that the electri-
(incl. inverter) _
‡ …EG7 EG6 †
PH _ PH _
‡ …EG6 E_ G7
CH CH
† city production plant is situated in central Europe. Addition-
ally it was assumed to use wood chips made of industrial resid-
HX A5 E_ A5 E_ A4B E_ G11 E_ G12 ual soft wood as feedstock with an average transport distance
of 50 km to the plant. During the operation of the process the
HX ST E_ ST2 E_ ST1 E_ G12 E_ G13
same amount of CO2, which was previously consumed from
E_ WP2 E_ B0 ‡ E_ A0 the air for the production of biomass, is released as direct
 emissions to the atmosphere. These direct emissions are gener-
Total process E_ WST1 ‡ E_ WA0 ‡ E_ WG5
ated as part of the raw gas in the gasifier and are conveyed
through the entire system back to the burner of the gasifier.
Tab. 2 presents the main exergetic variables of the system For this reason, in the case study the environmental impacts of
components. these direct CO2 emissions could not be assigned to one com-
The result shows that the gasifier, the two heat exchangers ponent of the system. Therefore, the environmental impacts
(HX A1, HX ST), and the SOFC including the inverter are associated with the CO2 emissions are assigned to the biomass
responsible for almost 80 % of the destroyed exergy within the supply, so that the net calculation of CO2 for the biomass
process. Other components with low exergetic efficiencies con- growth is zero. Through this assumption the consumption of
biomass is directly connected to the CO2 emissions and the
process steps that are responsible for the increase of biomass
Table 2. Exergetic variables of system components. consumption can be identified by the exergoenvironmental
System component Exergetic Exergy
analysis because there is an interdependence between exergy
efficiency [%] destruction [MW] destruction and released CO2 emissions. A sensitive analysis of
other allocations of these direct CO2 emissions is discussed in
Gasifier (incl. dissipative 11.6 0.658 detail in [36].
comp.) For presentation of the LCA results the production of
HX G4 94.0 0.015 100 MWh electricity has been chosen as reference unit. The
total environmental impact for the production of 100 MWh
Tar reform. 23.9 0.068
electricity is Eco-indicator 831 points as shown in Fig. 6.
HEAT G6 70.3 0.010 The highest environmental impact of nearly 58.7 % has the
biomass supply because the environmental impact of the direct
HX A1 80.5 0.265
CO2 emissions are included. Other high contributions to the
SOFC (incl. dissipative comp.) 93.1 0.126 environmental impact are made by the SOFC, the gasifier, and
HX A5 76.5 0.039 the consumption of electricity for Heat G6. The environmental
impact balance of input and output flows of the analyzed sys-
HX ST 56.2 0.153 tem is shown in a schematic Sankey diagram in Fig. 7.
Pump 24.7 0.000 It clearly shows that the LCA results for the upstream pro-
cesses of input streams (electricity and biomass supply) and all
Blower 65.2 0.006
component-related environmental impacts lead to the sum of

Chem. Eng. Technol. 2010, 33, No. 4, 593–602 © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim www.cet-journal.com
600 J. Buchgeister

turing of the fuel cell and by assigned


dissipative components of absorber
and inverter.
Although the heat exchanger HX A1
accounts for the highest environmental
impacts of exergy destruction, Fig. 8
shows that the highest exergy destruc-
tion rate occurs inside the gasifier.
This means that the reduction of
exergy destruction within the heat ex-
changer leads to a higher reduction of
environmental impacts of the overall
system than the same reduction of
exergy destruction within the gasifier.
The reason for this is the interrelation-
ship between the components and
their relative position within the pro-
cess. The reduction of inefficiencies
within the gasifier mainly leads to
Figure 6. Total environmental impacts of input streams and system components. reduced environmental impacts con-

environmental impact rates associated with all output streams. Table 3. Exergoenvironmental variables of system components.
Design optimization has to minimize this total amount of
environmental impacts. For this purpose, information on the System component Y_ k B_ D;k B_ TOT;k
[mPts/s] [mPts/s] [mPts/s]
trade-offs between exergy destruction with its hidden environ-
mental impacts by exergetic inefficiencies (Eq. (21)) is re- Gasifier (incl. dissipative 0.222 0.875 1.097
quired. Therefore, exergoenvironmental variables are needed. comp.)
HX G4 0.008 0.017 0.025

3.3 Results of Exergoenvironmental Analysis Tar reform. 0.044 0.070 0.114


HEAT G6 0.001 0.058 0.059
Exergoenvironmental analysis quantifies both sources of envi-
ronmental impacts associated with each component of an HX A1 0.042 1.461 1.503
energy conversion process by calculating the environmental SOFC (incl. dissipative comp.) 0.514 0.140 0.654
impacts of exergy destruction B_ D;k and the component-related
environmental impact rate Y_ k . The sum of both impact rates HX A5 0.003 0.052 0.055
are the total environmental impacts B_ TOT;k . The results of HX ST 0.011 0.203 0.214
these exergoenvironmental variables are shown in Tab. 3.
Pump 0.000 0.001 0.001
Besides gasifier and heat exchanger HX A1 also the SOFC
can be clearly identified as a component that is mainly relevant Blower 0.002 0.033 0.035
for the formation of environmental impacts of the overall
system. In contrast to the components mentioned first, the
impacts from the fuel cell are due to component-related envi- nected to biomass input. In contrast, a lower exergy destruc-
ronmental impacts. These are mainly caused by the manufac- tion within the heat exchanger HX A1 has a positive effect on
all upstream components, reducing, e.g., exergy
destruction due to smaller exergy streams. More-
over, the exergy destructions of the SOFC exhaust
air (flow A4C) and the gasifier flue gas (flow G13)
lead to relevant environmental impacts of
0.49 mPts/s and 0.32 mPts/s, respectively.

4 Conclusions
An exergoenvironmental method has been pro-
posed that investigates the formation of environ-
mental impacts of energy conversion processes
Figure 7. Schematic Sankey diagram of environmental impacts of system com- regarding components. The environmental im-
ponents, input and output flows. pacts are assigned to the exergy flows in the ana-

www.cet-journal.com © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim Chem. Eng. Technol. 2010, 33, No. 4, 593–602
Biomass gasification 601

Figure 8. Environmental impacts of exergy destruction and exergy destruction of each component.

lyzed system. There are two sources of environmental impacts improvement procedure. In which way the practical work
associated with the process components: (i) thermodynamic could be reduced for an easier application of the presented
inefficiencies and (ii) impacts associated with the life cycle of exergoenvironmental analysis has to be handled in future.
the component. The exergoenvironmental analysis of a bio-
energy conversion process consisting of a high-temperature
SOFC with integrated allothermal biomass gasification showed Symbols used
that the supply of biomass has the highest environmental im-
pact and that gasifier, heat exchanger HXA1, and SOFC are the B_ j [points/s] environmental impact rate of the
most environment-relevant components of the system. j-th material or energy flow
Furthermore, the result of the exergoenvironmental analysis bj [points/GJ] specific (exergy-based)
shows the potentials for optimization more in detail and environmental impact of the j-th
reveals the influence of the components among themselves. material or energy flow
Especially, the high environmental impact rate of the heat ex- E_ j [MJ/s] exergy rate of the j-th stream
changer HX A1 due to the high exergy destruction is revealed. e [MJ/kg] specific exergy
It has become obvious that the effect of exergy destruction m_ [kg/s] mass flow rate
within a component on the formation of environmental im- n_ [mole/s] mole flow rate
pacts depends on the position of the component in the process Q_ [MW] heat rate
because the exergy rate provides the unified basis of inter- W _ [MW] work rate
relationship between the components. Moreover, a reliable Y_ [points/s] component-related environmental
improvement of the overall energy conversion process with impact rate associated with the life
respect to ecological aspects can only be realized if the exergy cycle of the component
of the SOFC exhaust air (flow A4C) and the gasifier flue gas
(flow G13) can be used additionally in a varied heat exchanger Greek symbol
network. e [%] exergetic efficiency
The proposed exergoenvironmental analysis is developed for
energy conversion processes but in principle the differences to Subscripts
a chemical process or a production of chemical products can
be neglected. Therefore, it is expected that the application of D destruction
an exergoenvironmental analysis on chemical processes sup- F fuel
ports the design for environment, too. Nevertheless, the practi- in input
cal effort (using two different software tools) seems to be high j j-th material or energy flow of the energy conversion
to find the minimum of total environmental impacts in an system

Chem. Eng. Technol. 2010, 33, No. 4, 593–602 © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim www.cet-journal.com
602 J. Buchgeister

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