(249f) A Process Engineering Perspective on the Small Scale Conversion of Natural Gas and Biomass to Transportation Fuels

Sahir, A. H., National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Zhang, Y., National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Tao, L., National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The conversion of natural gas and biomass to liquids (GBTL) at the smaller scale has invited significant research attention, owing to developments in process intensification. Opportunities exist to utilize natural gas in remote and offshore locations, and biomass synergistically in isolated areas [1]. Technologies based on the GBTL concept offer opportunities in optimizing the usage of natural gas along with biomass [2]. It also serves towards one of the options to develop commercially viable biomass technologies to enable biofuel production nationwide, by supporting the goal of the Energy Independence and Security Act for the production of 36 billion gallons per year of renewable transportation fuels by 2022.

The research community has been actively working on concepts related to reducing the scale of associated technology components (gasification, gas conditioning, reforming, Fischer-Tropsch and separation processes) which constitute as some of the key components of a GBTL system. These concepts cover a wide spectrum of process engineering aspects ranging from the effect of feedstock on conversion processes to kinetics associated with chemical reactors (e.g. Reforming, Fischer Tropsch Synthesis). This poster shall offer a reflection on the current understanding of process parameters associated with the small scale co-conversion of natural gas and biomass to transportation fuels, and highlight upon process engineering insights which shall aid in future techno-economic analysis studies.


1. Kaisare et al. (2012), A review on microcombustion: Fundamentals, devices and applications, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 38, pp. 321-359

2. Bioenergy Technolgies Office, "The Potential for Natural Gas to Enhance Biomass Technologies," 2014. Available at: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/04/f14/february2014_gbtl_webinar...