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Green Hydrogen Production from Raw Biogas: A Techno-Economic Investigation of Conventional Processes Using Pressure Swing Adsorption Unit


This paper discusses the techno-economic assessment of hydrogen production from biogas with conventional systems. The work is part of the European project BIONICO, whose purpose is to develop and test a membrane reactor (MR) for hydrogen production from biogas. Within the BIONICO project, steam reforming (SR) and autothermal reforming (ATR), have been identified as well-known technologies for hydrogen production from biogas. Two biogases were examined: one produced by landfill and the other one by anaerobic digester. The purification unit required in the conventional plants has been studied and modeled in detail, using Aspen Adsorption. A pressure swing adsorption system (PSA) with two and four beds and a vacuum PSA (VPSA) made of four beds are compared. VPSA operates at sub-atmospheric pressure, thus increasing the recovery: results of the simulations show that the performances strongly depend on the design choices and on the gas feeding the purification unit. The best purity and recovery values were obtained with the VPSA system, which achieves a recovery between 50% and 60% at a vacuum pressure of 0.1 bar and a hydrogen purity of 99.999%. The SR and ATR plants were designed in Aspen Plus, integrating the studied VPSA model, and analyzing the behavior of the systems at the variation of the pressure and the type of input biogas. The SR system achieves a maximum efficiency, calculated on the LHV, of 52% at 12 bar, while the ATR of 28% at 18 bar. The economic analysis determined a hydrogen production cost of around 5 €/kg of hydrogen for the SR case.

Funding source: The BIONICO project leading to this application has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 671459. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and N.ERGHY
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Italy

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