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Techno-economic assessment of natural gas displacement potential of biomethane: A case study on domestic energy supply in the UK

Fubara, Tekena, Cecelja, Franjo and Yang, Aidong (2017) Techno-economic assessment of natural gas displacement potential of biomethane: A case study on domestic energy supply in the UK Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 131. pp. 193-213.

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Mathematical modelling and optimisation at both household and energy supply network levels were developed to study the transformation of the natural gas-based domestic energy supply system with the introduction of biomethane generation, processing and utilisation based on a range of feedstock and conversion technologies. Biomethane processing includes, among other options considered, the conceptual development of a novel approach for upgrading biogas which utilises existing onshore natural gas processing capacity. Four different objective functions were considered for optimisation, representing different economic and environmental propositions, to identify the best path for introducing biomethane with multiple types of feedstock. Applying these objective functions to UK’s domestic energy supply, and assuming a range of subsidies available, it was established that a technically significant displacement of natural gas could be achieved, with displacement capabilities of 48%–72%, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions between 64% and 80%. Economically, these ranges of achievement would correspond to various levels of capital investment and economic viability, depending on the objective functions. Those cases leading to a positive net present value (NPV) appeared to heavily rely on subsidies and could run into a significant loss if subsidies were removed in the operational phase. In contrast, optimisation not assuming any subsidies in the first place could lead to a fundamentally economically viable system, but at the cost of a significantly lower level of biomethane penetration compared to the cases assuming subsidies. Overall, the results have indicated the importance of carefully selecting optimisation objectives, and revealed the potential consequences of adopting financial subsidies in developing the biomethane infrastructure.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Chemical and Process Engineering
Authors :
Fubara, Tekena
Yang, Aidong
Date : 21 December 2017
DOI : 10.1016/j.cherd.2017.12.022
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Techno-economic modelling; Biogas; Bio-SNG; Greenhouse gas emission; Natural gas
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 16 Jan 2018 13:29
Last Modified : 13 Dec 2018 02:08

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