Comparative thermodynamic and techno-economic assessment of green methanol production from biomass through direct chemical looping processes

Methanol production from biomass in the light of direct chemical looping processes is a promising alternative for green and sustainable methanol production, given that traditional methanol synthesis uses fossil energy as the feedstock and consumes considerable energy. In this study, two methanol production routes from biomass through direct chemical looping processes are proposed: The first configuration (Configuration 1) is based on biomass chemical looping gasification (B-CLG); the second (Configuration 2) is based on biomass chemical looping hydrogen production (B-CLHP). The optimal operating parameters of the two chemical looping processes were determined by parameter analysis. Comparative thermodynamic and techno-economic analyses were then conducted to observe the thermodynamic and economic performances of the two routes. The thermodynamic results indicated that both configurations can achieve similar energy and exergy efficiencies (∼60%). Exergy analysis revealed that the exergy efficiency of B-CLG (75.61%) is higher than that of B-CLHP (71.59%), the syngas conditioning process in Configuration 1 has a greater exergy loss (2108 kW compared to 1001 kW), and the exergy efficiency of the methanol synthesis and purification process in Configuration 2 is higher (90.42% compared to 82.9%). Techno-economic results show that Configuration 2 is more economically feasible, with levelized cost of methanol, net present value, internal rate of return, and dynamic payback period of 383.59 USD/t, 4.13 million USD (MUSD), 9.45%, and 8.29 y, respectively, being superior to those of Configuration 1 (479.46 USD/t, 18.65 MUSD, 16.65%, and 18.52 y, respectively).