Research Papers: Energy Storage/Systems

Production of Synthetic Natural Gas From Carbon Dioxide and Renewably Generated Hydrogen: A Techno-Economic Analysis of a Power-to-Gas Strategy

[+] Author and Article Information
William L. Becker

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Colorado School of Mines,
1610 Illinois Street,
Golden, CO 80401
e-mail: becker@gmail.com

Michael Penev

National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
15013 Denver West Parkway,
Golden, CO 80401
e-mail: Michael.penev@nrel.gov

Robert J. Braun

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Colorado School of Mines,
1610 Illinois Street,
Golden, CO 80401
e-mail: rbraun@mines.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 22, 2018; final manuscript received August 14, 2018; published online September 26, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Luis Serra.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(2), 021901 (Sep 26, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1362; doi: 10.1115/1.4041381 History: Received May 22, 2018; Revised August 14, 2018

Power-to-gas to energy systems are of increasing interest for low carbon fuels production and as a low-cost grid-balancing solution for renewables penetration. However, such gas generation systems are typically focused on hydrogen production, which has compatibility issues with the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructures. This study presents a power-to-synthetic natural gas (SNG) plant design and a techno-economic analysis of its performance for producing SNG by reacting renewably generated hydrogen from low-temperature electrolysis with captured carbon dioxide. The study presents a “bulk” methanation process that is unique due to the high concentration of carbon oxides and hydrogen. Carbon dioxide, as the only carbon feedstock, has much different reaction characteristics than carbon monoxide. Thermodynamic and kinetic considerations of the methanation reaction are explored to design a system of multistaged reactors for the conversion of hydrogen and carbon dioxide to SNG. Heat recuperation from the methanation reaction is accomplished using organic Rankine cycle (ORC) units to generate electricity. The product SNG has a Wobbe index of 47.5 MJ/m3 and the overall plant efficiency (H2/CO2 to SNG) is shown to be 78.1% LHV (83.2% HHV). The nominal production cost for SNG is estimated at 132 $/MWh (38.8 $/MMBTU) with 3 $/kg hydrogen and a 65% capacity factor. At U.S. DOE target hydrogen production costs (2.2 $/kg), SNG cost is estimated to be as low as 97.6 $/MWh (28.6 $/MMBtu or 1.46 $/kgSNG).

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Fig. 1

Hydrogen from wind-powered electrolysis to SNG production architecture

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Fig. 2

Temperature dependence of equilibrium molar composition at 1 bar and H2:CO2 feed ratio of 4:1

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Fig. 3

CO2 conversion dependence on catalyst temperature; experimental data (symbols) from Hoekman et al. [38]

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Fig. 4

SNG plant system flowsheet design and state-points

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Fig. 5

Bulk recycle, MDEA CO2 separation and recycle, and polysulfone membrane H2 separation and recycle

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Fig. 6

Molar gas composition at various reactor and recycle streams. Numbers indicate methanation reactor inlet and outlet streams.

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Fig. 7

SNG plant input/output summary (HHV basis)

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Fig. 8

Cost contribution for SNG production at (a) three different hydrogen feedstock costs and a 90% capacity factor and (b) three different capacity factors and a 3 $/kg hydrogen feedstock cost

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Fig. 9

(a) Effect of hydrogen feedstock cost on SNG production cost for various capacity factors and (b) effect of operating capacity factor on SNG production costs for various hydrogen feedstock costs



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