Cost and performance analysis of new wood-fuelled power plant concepts
The objective of the thesis was to analyse several process configurations for the production of electricity from biomass. Process simulation models using AspenPlus aimed at calculating the industrial performance of power plant concepts were built, tested, and used for analysis. The criteria used in analysis were performance and cost. All of the advanced systems appear to have higher efficiencies than the commercial reference, the Rankine cycle. However, advanced systems typically have a higher cost of electricity (COE) than the Rankine power plant. High efficiencies do not reduce fuel costs enough to compensate for the high capital costs of advanced concepts. The successful reduction of capital costs would appear to be the key to the introduction of the new systems. Capital costs account for a considerable, often dominant, part of the cost of electricity in these concepts. All of the systems have higher specific investment costs than the conventional industrial alternative, i.e. the Rankine power plant; Combined beat and power production (CUP) is currently the only industrial area of application in which bio-power costs can be considerably reduced to make them competitive. Based on the results of this work, AsperiPlus is an appropriate simulation platform. How-ever, the usefulness of the models could be improved if a number of unit operations were modelled in greater detail. The dryer, gasifier, fast pyrolysis, gas engine and gas turbine models could be improved.