Monday, August 21st, 2017

Comparison of energy efficiency assessment methods: Case Bio-SNG process

Publication date: Available online 17 April 2014
Author(s): T. Kohl , T. Laukkanen , M. Tuomaala , T. Niskanen , S. Siitonen , M.P. Järvinen , P. Ahtila
The goal of biofuel production is to partially replace fossil fuels in energy generation and transport. For the evaluation of biofuel production processes different criteria are applied and usually they include costs, efficiency aspects and emissions. However, evaluation of the energy efficiency of biofuels production is difficult since no general standard method exists for that. This paper compares three different assessment methods of energy efficiency both qualitatively and quantitatively. The methods are: thermal efficiency, exergy analysis and primary energy analysis. The feasibility of the methods is tested on a Bio-SNG (synthetic natural gas) production process which was modelled in AspenPlus and MS Excel. The results show that the exergy analysis seems to be advantageous when it comes to detailed (sub-) process analysis whereas the primary energy analysis offers the advantage of showing how the system is influencing the global primary energy resources. The results obtained by the thermal efficiency analysis do not add any new information to the results obtained by exergy and primary energy analyses. Exergy and primary energy analyses should be the preferred means for process assessment. Especially a combination of the two methods could offer the chance to develop a more holistic energy efficiency indicator.

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