Today biogas produced from anaerobic digestion is used mainly for thermic and electric energy production. Its use as raw material for syngas production and further upgrading to chemical products like methanol (MeOH), dimethyl ether (DME) or acetic acid could be an interesting option as process intensification. In this work the sustainability of a Biogas-to-MeOH (BtoMeOH) or Biogas-to-DME (BtoDME) process was studied. The biogas feedstock of the Combined Heat, Power and Chemicals (CHPC) is equivalent to the production of 1 MWe in a Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP). Biogas is converted using a reformer into syngas to produce methanol. The plant was designed considering mild conditions for chemical production and the energy necessary to reactors was generated using a fraction of the inlet biogas. This process was studied using the Simulation Suite PRO/II® by Schneider-Electric Simulation Science. The reformer and the methanol reactor productivity were evaluated with the experimental data obtained through bench scale plants. An economic analysis was performed to assess the sustainability of these new processes, capital and operative costs of the plants were evaluated using the Guthrie’s method. The Biogas-to-MeOH process can produce up to 297 kg h-1 of methanol with recycle. The biogas necessary to supply the energy demand of the plant is 192 kg h-1, a third of the inlet feedstock. For the Biogas-to-DME process the energy demand is similar while the DME production is 173 kg h-1. The preliminary economic evaluation shows that the main item for the capital costs are reactors and compressors and the breakeven point of both processes is 3 years. Despite the lower productivity, DME process is more convenient due to a higher market value.
- Methanol, Reforming reactions, coupled reactor