Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 6

biogas upgrading Related Abstracts

6 Ionic Liquid Membranes for CO2 Separation

Authors: Zuzana Sedláková, Magda Kárászová, Jiří Vejražka, Lenka Morávková, Pavel Izák


Membrane separations are mentioned frequently as a possibility for CO2 capture. Selectivity of ionic liquid membranes is strongly determined by different solubility of separated gases in ionic liquids. The solubility of separated gases usually varies over an order of magnitude, differently from diffusivity of gases in ionic liquids, which is usually of the same order of magnitude for different gases. The present work evaluates the selection of an appropriate ionic liquid for the selective membrane preparation based on the gas solubility in an ionic liquid. The current state of the art of CO2 capture patents and technologies based on the membrane separations was considered. An overview is given of the discussed transport mechanisms. Ionic liquids seem to be promising candidates thanks to their tunable properties, wide liquid range, reasonable thermal stability, and negligible vapor pressure. However, the uses of supported liquid membranes are limited by their relatively short lifetime from the industrial point of view. On the other hand, ionic liquids could overcome these problems due to their negligible vapor pressure and their tunable properties by adequate selection of the cation and anion.

Keywords: Transport Properties, biogas upgrading, carbon dioxide separation, ionic liquid membrane

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5 Gas Separation by Water-Swollen Membrane

Authors: Zuzana Sedláková, Jiří Vejražka, Lenka Morávková, Pavel Izák, Věra Jandová


The need to minimize the costs of biogas upgrading leads to a continuous search for new and more effective membrane materials. The improvement of biogas combustion efficiency is connected with polar gases removal from a feed stream. One of the possibilities is the use of water–swollen polyamide layer of thin film composite reverse osmosis membrane for simultaneous carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide removal. Transport properties and basic characteristics of a thin film composite membrane were compared in the term of appropriate water-swollen membrane choice for biogas upgrading. SEM analysis showed that the surface of the best performing composites changed significantly upon swelling by water. The surface changes were found to be a proof that the selective skin polyamide layer was swollen well. Further, the presence of a sufficient number of associative centers, namely amido groups, inside the upper layer of the hydrophilic thin composite membrane can play an important role in the polar gas separation from a non-polar gas. The next key factor is a high porosity of the membrane support.

Keywords: biogas upgrading, carbon dioxide separation, hydrogen sulphide separation, water-swollen membrane

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4 Sustainable Biogas Upgrading: Characterization of Adsorption Properties of Tuff

Authors: Franco Cotana, Emanuele Bonamente, Andrea Aquino


This paper presents experimental results from the analysis of Tuff for CO2 and H2S removal from biogas. Synthetic zeolites, commonly used for biogas upgrading, are characterized by excellent performance in terms of carbon dioxide adsorption, however, cost and environmental footprint represent a negative contribute to their sustainability. Natural zeolites contained in Tuff, a totally inexpensive byproduct of the construction industry, show very interesting selective adsorption properties, associated with its availability in regions, as central Italy, where biogas production from small scale plants is rapidly increasing. An in-house experimental device was assembled to measure the adsorption capacity of Tuff as a function of partial CO2 pressure for different temperatures (i.e. adsorption isotherms). Results show performances as high as 66% with respect to commercial zeolites (13X). A sensitivity analysis of different regeneration processes is also presented. A comparative analysis of natural and synthetic zeolites was finally performed using biogas samples obtained from different types of feedstock and characterized by varying CO2 and H2S content.

Keywords: Sustainable Energy, CO2 adsorption, biogas upgrading, tuff

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3 Interplay of Material and Cycle Design in a Vacuum-Temperature Swing Adsorption Process for Biogas Upgrading

Authors: Federico Capra, Emanuele Martelli, Matteo Gazzani, Marco Mazzotti, Maurizio Notaro


Natural gas is a major energy source in the current global economy, contributing to roughly 21% of the total primary energy consumption. Production of natural gas starting from renewable energy sources is key to limit the related CO2 emissions, especially for those sectors that heavily rely on natural gas use. In this context, biomethane produced via biogas upgrading represents a good candidate for partial substitution of fossil natural gas. The upgrading process of biogas to biomethane consists in (i) the removal of pollutants and impurities (e.g. H2S, siloxanes, ammonia, water), and (ii) the separation of carbon dioxide from methane. Focusing on the CO2 removal process, several technologies can be considered: chemical or physical absorption with solvents (e.g. water, amines), membranes, adsorption-based systems (PSA). However, none emerged as the leading technology, because of (i) the heterogeneity in plant size, ii) the heterogeneity in biogas composition, which is strongly related to the feedstock type (animal manure, sewage treatment, landfill products), (iii) the case-sensitive optimal tradeoff between purity and recovery of biomethane, and iv) the destination of the produced biomethane (grid injection, CHP applications, transportation sector). With this contribution, we explore the use of a technology for biogas upgrading and we compare the resulting performance with benchmark technologies. The proposed technology makes use of a chemical sorbent, which is engineered by RSE and consists of Di-Ethanol-Amine deposited on a solid support made of γ-Alumina, to chemically adsorb the CO2 contained in the gas. The material is packed into fixed beds that cyclically undergo adsorption and regeneration steps. CO2 is adsorbed at low temperature and ambient pressure (or slightly above) while the regeneration is carried out by pulling vacuum and increasing the temperature of the bed (vacuum-temperature swing adsorption - VTSA). Dynamic adsorption tests were performed by RSE and were used to tune the mathematical model of the process, including material and transport parameters (i.e. Langmuir isotherms data and heat and mass transport). Based on this set of data, an optimal VTSA cycle was designed. The results enabled a better understanding of the interplay between material and cycle tuning. As exemplary application, the upgrading of biogas for grid injection, produced by an anaerobic digester (60-70% CO2, 30-40% CH4), for an equivalent size of 1 MWel was selected. A plant configuration is proposed to maximize heat recovery and minimize the energy consumption of the process. The resulting performances are very promising compared to benchmark solutions, which make the VTSA configuration a valuable alternative for biomethane production starting from biogas.

Keywords: CO2 adsorption, biogas upgrading, biogas upgrading energetic cost, VTSA process modelling

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2 Thermo-Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Biogas Upgrading via Solid-Oxide Electrolysis

Authors: Ligang Wang, Theodoros Damartzis, Stefan Diethelm, Jan Van Herle, François Marechal


Biogas production from anaerobic digestion of organic sludge from wastewater treatment as well as various urban and agricultural organic wastes is of great significance to achieve a sustainable society. Two upgrading approaches for cleaned biogas can be considered: (1) direct H₂ injection for catalytic CO₂ methanation and (2) CO₂ separation from biogas. The first approach usually employs electrolysis technologies to generate hydrogen and increases the biogas production rate; while the second one usually applies commercially-available highly-selective membrane technologies to efficiently extract CO₂ from the biogas with the latter being then sent afterward for compression and storage for further use. A straightforward way of utilizing the captured CO₂ is on-site catalytic CO₂ methanation. From the perspective of system complexity, the second approach may be questioned, since it introduces an additional expensive membrane component for producing the same amount of methane. However, given the circumstance that the sustainability of the produced biogas should be retained after biogas upgrading, renewable electricity should be supplied to drive the electrolyzer. Therefore, considering the intermittent nature and seasonal variation of renewable electricity supply, the second approach offers high operational flexibility. This indicates that these two approaches should be compared based on the availability and scale of the local renewable power supply and not only the technical systems themselves. Solid-oxide electrolysis generally offers high overall system efficiency, and more importantly, it can achieve simultaneous electrolysis of CO₂ and H₂O (namely, co-electrolysis), which may bring significant benefits for the case of CO₂ separation from the produced biogas. When taking co-electrolysis into account, two additional upgrading approaches can be proposed: (1) direct steam injection into the biogas with the mixture going through the SOE, and (2) CO₂ separation from biogas which can be used later for co-electrolysis. The case study of integrating SOE to a wastewater treatment plant is investigated with wind power as the renewable power. The dynamic production of biogas is provided on an hourly basis with the corresponding oxygen and heating requirements. All four approaches mentioned above are investigated and compared thermo-economically: (a) steam-electrolysis with grid power, as the base case for steam electrolysis, (b) CO₂ separation and co-electrolysis with grid power, as the base case for co-electrolysis, (c) steam-electrolysis and CO₂ separation (and storage) with wind power, and (d) co-electrolysis and CO₂ separation (and storage) with wind power. The influence of the scale of wind power supply is investigated by a sensitivity analysis. The results derived provide general understanding on the economic competitiveness of SOE for sustainable biogas upgrading, thus assisting the decision making for biogas production sites. The research leading to the presented work is funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 under grant agreements n° 699892 (ECo, topic H2020-JTI-FCH-2015-1) and SCCER BIOSWEET.

Keywords: energy storage, co2 utilization, biogas upgrading, solid-oxide electrolyzer, co-electrolysis

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1 Isolation of Bacterial Species with Potential Capacity for Siloxane Removal in Biogas Upgrading

Authors: Ellana Boada, Eric Santos-Clotas, Alba Cabrera-Codony, Maria Martin, Lluis Baneras, Frederic Gich


Volatile methylsiloxanes (VMS) are a group of manmade silicone compounds widely used in household and industrial applications that end up on the biogas produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The presence of VMS during the biogas energy conversion can cause damage on the engines, reducing the efficiency of this renewable energy source. Non regenerative adsorption onto activated carbon is the most widely used technology to remove siloxanes from biogas, while new trends point out that biotechnology offers a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional technologies. The first objective of this research was to enrich, isolate and identify bacterial species able to grow using siloxane molecules as a sole carbon source: anoxic wastewater sludge was used as initial inoculum in liquid anoxic enrichments, adding D4 (as representative siloxane compound) previously adsorbed on activated carbon. After several months of acclimatization, liquid enrichments were plated onto solid media containing D4 and thirty-four bacterial isolates were obtained. 16S rRNA gene sequencing allowed the identification of strains belonging to the following species: Ciceribacter lividus, Alicycliphilus denitrificans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas citronellolis which are described to be capable to degrade toxic volatile organic compounds. Kinetic assays with 8 representative strains revealed higher cell growth in the presence of D4 compared to the control. Our second objective was to characterize the community composition and diversity of the microbial community present in the enrichments and to elucidate whether the isolated strains were representative members of the community or not. DNA samples were extracted, the 16S rRNA gene was amplified (515F & 806R primer pair), and the microbiome analyzed from sequences obtained with a MiSeq PE250 platform. Results showed that the retrieved isolates only represented a minor fraction of the microorganisms present in the enrichment samples, which were represented by Alpha, Beta, and Gamma proteobacteria as dominant groups in the category class thus suggesting that other microbial species and/or consortia may be important for D4 biodegradation. These results highlight the need of additional protocols for the isolation of relevant D4 degraders. Currently, we are developing molecular tools targeting key genes involved in siloxane biodegradation to identify and quantify the capacity of the isolates to metabolize D4 in batch cultures supplied with a synthetic gas stream of air containing 60 mg m⁻³ of D4 together with other volatile organic compounds found in the biogas mixture (i.e. toluene, hexane and limonene). The isolates were used as inoculum in a biotrickling filter containing lava rocks and activated carbon to assess their capacity for siloxane removal. Preliminary results of biotrickling filter performance showed 35% of siloxane biodegradation in a contact time of 14 minutes, denoting that biological siloxane removal is a promising technology for biogas upgrading.

Keywords: Microbiome, biogas upgrading, siloxanes, bacterial cultivation

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