The Energy Analysis Seminar Series will take a holiday hiatus on December 9, 2010. Join us again next month.
Upcoming Energy Analysis Seminars
- January 13, 2011 (Golden, Colo.)
"Integrating Renewable Energy in an Urban Environment" — Wyllys Mann, Delta Institute
For more information on the seminar series — including log-in and call-in information for remote access — visit the Web site.
Publications and Web Sites
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Modeling Electricity Generation Technologies
SEAC analyst Jordan Macknick worked with Rick Tidball, Joel Bluestein, Nick Rodriguez, and Stu Knoke of ICF International to publish
"Cost and Performance Assumptions for Modeling Electricity Generation Technologies." (PDF 1.7 MB)
The goal of this project was to compare and contrast utility-scale power plant characteristics used in data sets that support energy market models. Characteristics include both technology cost and technology performance projections to the year 2050. Cost parameters include installed capital costs and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs. Performance parameters include plant size, heat rate, capacity factor or availability factor, and plant lifetime. Conventional, renewable, and emerging electricity generating technologies were considered. Six data sets, each associated with a different model, were selected. Two of the data sets represent modeled results, not direct model inputs. For the technologies contained in each data set, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) was also evaluated, according to published cost, performance, and fuel assumptions.
NREL analyst David Hsu, in collaboration with experts from Iowa State University and ConocoPhillips, used techno-economic analysis to examine the production of biofuels in two recently published reports. One report analyzes the production of biomass to liquid based on gasification, and the other report analyzes the production of biomass to fuel via fast pyrolysis and bio-oil upgrading. Each study evaluated the economics of two scenarios.
Biofuels Production Based on Gasification
SEAC analyst David D. Hsu — along with Ryan M. Swanson, Justinus A. Satrio, and Robert C. Brown (Iowa State University) and Alexandru Platon (ConocoPhillips) —published the report "Techno-Economic Analysis of Biofuels Production Based on Gasification." (PDF 2.4 MB)
This study compares capital and production costs of two biomass-to-liquid production plants based on gasification. The first biorefinery scenario is an oxygen-fed, low-temperature (870°C), non-slagging, fluidized bed gasifier. The second scenario is an oxygen-fed, high-temperature (1,300°C), slagging, entrained flow gasifier. Both are followed by catalytic Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and hydroprocessing to naphtha-range (gasoline blend stock) and distillate-range (diesel blend stock) liquid fractions. Process modeling software (Aspen Plus) is utilized to organize the mass and energy streams and cost estimation software used to generate equipment costs. Economic analysis is performed to estimate the capital investment and operating costs. Results show that the total capital investment required for nth plant scenarios is $610 million and $500 million for high-temperature and low-temperature scenarios, respectively. Product value for the high-temperature and low-temperature scenarios is estimated to be $4.30 and $4.80 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, respectively, based on a feedstock cost of $75 per dry short ton. Sensitivity analysis is also performed on process and economic parameters. This analysis shows that total capital investment and feedstock cost are among the most influential parameters affecting the product value.
Biomass to Fuel Products via Fast Pyrolysis
SEAC analyst David D. Hsu — along with Mark M. Wright, Justinus A. Satrio, and Robert C. Brown (Iowa State University) and Daren E. Daugaard (ConocoPhillips) — recently published "Techno-Economic Analysis of Biomass Fast Pyrolysis to Transportation Fuels." (PDF 2.0 MB)
This study develops techno-economic models for assessment of the conversion of biomass to valuable fuel products via fast pyrolysis and bio-oil upgrading. The upgrading process produces a mixture of naphtha-range (gasoline blend stock) and diesel-range (diesel blend stock) products. This study analyzes the economics of two scenarios: onsite hydrogen production by reforming bio-oil and hydrogen purchase from an outside source. The study results for an nth plant indicate that petroleum fractions in the naphtha distillation range and in the diesel distillation range are produced from corn stover at a product value of $3.09/gal ($0.82/L) with onsite hydrogen production of $2.11/gal ($0.56/L) with hydrogen purchase. These values correspond to a $0.83/gal ($0.21/L) cost to produce the bio-oil. Based on these nth plant numbers, product value for a pioneer hydrogen-producing plant is about $6.55/gal ($1.73/L) and for a pioneer hydrogen-purchasing plant is about $3.41/gal ($0.92/L). Sensitivity analysis identifies fuel yield as a key variable for the hydrogen-production scenario. Biomass cost is important for both scenarios. Changing feedstock cost from $50—$100 per short ton changes the price of fuel in the hydrogen production scenario from $2.57–$3.62/gal ($0.68–$0.96/L).
Financing Renewable Energy Projects Web Site
The Finance Analysis Team at NREL developed a Web site focused on renewable energy project finance. The RE Project Finance site features a blog, case studies, market analysis, and policy evaluation written by NREL staff. In addition, the team has compiled an extensive database of resources, tools, and analysis from multiple sources about the financing of commercially available renewable electric generation in the United States. Site users can learn how revenues, incentives, government programs, and available financing structures enhance project financing. Policymakers (local, state, and federal), investors, project developers, and end-use customers can expand their knowledge of technology-specific financing approaches, as well as policies relating to financing.
For the latest updates on information regarding energy analysis, visit the Energy Analysis Web site.