Techno-economic Assessment of Integrated Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Combined Heat and Power Production from Lignocellulose Residues
Waste biomass as a mean for global carbon dioxide emissions mitigation remains under-utilized. This is mainly due to the low calorific value of virgin feedstock, characterized generally with high moisture content. Aqueous processing, namely hydrothermal liquefaction in subcritical water conditions, has been demonstrated experimentally to thermally densify solid lignocellulose into liquid fuels without the pre-requisite and energy consuming drying step. This study presents a techno-economic evaluation of an integrated hydrothermal liquefaction system with downstream combined heat and power production from forest residues. The utilization of the liquefaction by-products and waste heat from the elevated processing conditions, coupled with the chemical upgrading of the feedstock enables the poly-generation of biocrude, electricity and district heat. The plant thermal efficiency increases by 3.5 to 4.6% compared to the conventional direct combustion case. The economic assessment showed that the minimum selling price of biocrude, based on present co-products market prices, hinders commercialization and ranges between 138 EUR to 178 EUR per MWh. A sensitivity analysis and detailed discussion on the techno-economic assessment results are presented for the different process integration and market case scenarios.