Environmental and Energetic Performance of the Biomass to Synthetic Natural Gas Supply Chain

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 262-278
Jan H. Miedema , Henri C. Moll, Rene M.J. Benders
Center for Energy and Environmental Science (IVEM), University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen, Netherlands

A quarter of the total primary energy demand in the European Union is met by natural gas. Synthetic natural gas produced through biomass gasification can contribute to a more sustainable energy supply system. A chain analysis of the energetic performance of synthetic natural gas where the upstream, midstream and downstream part are included has not been found in literature. The energy performance of the possible large-scale application of synthetic natural gas is therefore unsure. A model was designed to analyse the performance of the biomass to synthetic natural gas chain and to estimate the effect of 1% synthetic natural gas in the energy system. A break-even distance is introduced to determine whether it is energetically feasible to apply pretreatment. Results show that torrefaction and pelleting are energetically unfeasible within the European Union. Emissions can be reduced with almost 70% compared to a fossil reference scenario. Over 1.2 Mha is required to fulfil 0.25% of the total primary energy demand in the European Union.

Keywords: Synthetic natural gas, Biomass gasification, Chain analysis, Break-even transport distance, Supply chain optimisation.

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