Energy center for the production of heat, power, substitute natural gas and liquid biofuels

The project deals with the production of synthesis gas from biological fuels and biological residues using steam blown gasification. This synthesis gas will be used for polygeneration especially for heat, power, gaseous (substitute natural gas, SNG) and/or liquid fuel production.

Short Description

In many regions a lot of biogeneous materials and wastes are available in various qualities and amounts. These materials are mostly rich in energy and, therefore, can be used for energy supply if suitable technologies will be developed and applied. Biomass gasification will be one key component as it is possible to produce a synthesis gas from solid biomass which subsequently can be converted to valuable products used today. Therefore, the main aim of this project is the development of an energy centre for regional needs (e.g. municipalities, parts of cities) which is able to produce heat, electricity, gaseous, and/or liquid energy carriers from various energy rich biogeneous materials and wastes. Which kind and how much of these energy carriers will be produced is dependent on the size and need of the respective region. The variation of the products in one plant is not unlimited but it is also an aim to make it possible to vary the production of the four products within one plant in certain limits.

This project report contains the results of the fist stage of the development of an energy centre with polygeneration to produce heat, electricity, gaseous and/or liquid fuels. First, possible plant configurations were evaluated with respect to efficiencies and feasibility. Besides energy and mass balances also the design of the apparatuses of the main stages were considered. Based on these technical evaluations a economical assessment was carried out. The results show that synthetic natural gas (BioSNG) can be produced between 0,68-0,86 €/m3 and Fischer-Tropsch-liquids (BioFIT) at about 1 €/l. These calculations are done for a plant size of 30 MW biomass input which is reasonable for the Austrian situation.

Based on these very promising results of the techno-economic assessment a lot of fundamental research was carried out to close the gap of knowledge. The research work was focused mainly on the production of Fischer-Tropsch-liquids as the knowledge was lowest for this technology. In the frame of this project a research unit consisting of fine gas cleaning, gas compression and Fischer-Tropsch-synthesis was realised and operated in a slip-stream of the biomass power plant in Güssing. The results especially concerning the product distribution are very promising, although, a lot of optimisation work and also component developments are still necessary. Furthermore, long term duration tests were carried out with BioSNG production research unit also in a slip stream of the Güssing plant. From these long term duration tests valuable experience could be gained for the design and construction a demonstration plant.

The overall results of the first stage of the development of an energy centre with polygeneration were really successful and promising in all areas. Therefore, the development will be continued in the same extent as it was foreseen at the beginning of the project.

Project status


Project Partners

Project leader

Univ. Prof. Dr. Hermann Hofbauer
TU Wien, Institut für Verfahrenstechnik
Getreidemarkt 9
A-1160 Wien
Tel: +43 (0)1/58801-15970
Fax: +43 (0)1/58801-15999

Project partners

Repotec (Projektpartner)
Biomasse Kraftwerk Güssing GmbH und Co KG (Projektpartner)
BEGAS (Projektpartner)
Renet Kompetenzknoten Güssing Forschungsinstitut (Werkvertragspartner)