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Energy, Exergy, and Environmental Analyses of Renewable Hydrogen Production Through Plasma Gasification of Microalgal Biomass


In this study, an energy, exergy, and environmental (3E) analyses of a plasma-assisted hydrogen production process from microalgae is investigated. Four different microalgal biomass fuels, namely, raw microalgae (RM) and three torrefied microalgal fuels (TM200, TM250, and TM300), are used as the feedstock for steam plasma gasification to generate syngas and hydrogen. The effects of steam-tobiomass (S/B) ratio on the syngas and hydrogen yields, and energy and exergy efficiencies of plasma gasification (hEn;PG, hEx;PG) and hydrogen production(hEn;H2 , hEx;H2 ) are taken into account. Results show that the optimal S/B ratios of RM, TM200, TM250, and TM300 are 0.354, 0.443, 0.593, and 0.760 respectively, occurring at the carbon boundary points (CBPs), where the maximum values of hEn;PG, hEx;PG, hEn;H2 , and hEx;H2 are also achieved. At CBPs, torrefied microalgae as feedstock lower thehEn;PG, hEx;PG, hEn;H2 , and hEx;H2 because of their improved calorific value after undergoing torrefaction, and the increased plasma energy demand compared to the RM. However, beyond CBPs the torrefied feedstock displays better performance. A comparative life cycle analysis indicates that TM300 exhibits the highest greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and the lowest net energy ratio (NER), due to the indirect emissions associated with electricity consumption.

Funding source: Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan for the financial support of this research under the grant MOST 108-2917-I-564-039.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain

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