Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 111–119 | Cite as

BioSNG—process simulation and comparison with first results from a 1-MW demonstration plant

  • Barbara Rehling
  • Hermann Hofbauer
  • Reinhard Rauch
  • Christian Aichernig
Original Article


High oil prices and peak oil, next to ecological aspects, increase the necessity of governmental support regarding the use of renewable energy resources. Biomass is a renewable energy source, which allows a sustainable utilization for several reasons. Its carbon dioxide neutrality and high availability in countries across Europe make economic usage of this source possible. Nowadays, biomass is used in rather conservative ways to produce heat and/or electric power. A more sophisticated way of using wood is transforming it into a secondary energy source by liquefaction and gasification. The product of the gasification process—considered in this paper—is a medium calorific product gas, which is nearly free of nitrogen and has a H2/CO ratio favourable for synthesis processes. Therefore, the product gas can be converted into a synthetic natural gas (BioSNG). In Güssing (Austria), the concept of a steam blown dual fluidized bed gasifier coupled to a catalytic conversion of the product gas to BioSNG could be proven successfully. A slipstream was used to run a demonstration unit with a capacity of 1 MW BioSNG. The resulting BioSNG exceeded the regulations for injection into the natural gas grid. The compressed BioSNG was stored in a fuelling station to supply CNG cars with energy. Thus, the applicability of using BioSNG in CNG cars was proven as well. The simulation software IPSEpro was used to model the overall system of gasification, gas cleaning, methanation and upgrading to BioSNG. The aim of this modelling work was to evaluate the optimization potential within the system and improve the economic and ecologic situation. Moreover, this tool will also be used to scale-up the process hereafter.


BioSNG Güssing gasifier Methanation 



Combined heat and power plant


Compressed natural gas


Density of air at standard conditions [kg/sm3]


Density of gas at standard conditions [kg/sm3]


Relative density [−]


Inferior calorific value [kWh/sm3] = lower heating value


Superior heating value [kWh/sm3] = higher heating value


Integrated process simulation environment

\( {\dot{m}_{{{\text{Fue}}{{\text{l}}_{{{\text{Gas,in}}}}}}}} \)

Mass flow of entering gas

\( {\dot{m}_{{{\text{Fue}}{{\text{l}}_{\text{BioSNG}}}}}} \)

BioSNG mass flow

\( {\dot{m}_d} \)

Drain mass flow

\( {\dot{m}_{{0,d}}} \)

Drain mass flow—organic medium

\( {\dot{m}_f} \)

Feed mass flow

\( {\dot{m}_{{0,f}}} \)

Feed mass flow—organic medium


Not available


Organic rankine cycle


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon


Chemical power [kW]


Pilot and development/demonstration plant


Product gas

\( {\dot{Q}_L} \)

Heat loss


Rape seed methyl ester


Standard cubic metre


Synthetic natural gas


Wobbe Index superior [kWh/sm3]


Chemical efficiency [%]



The BioSNG project was initiated by PSI Paul Scherrer Institut (CH), TU Vienna (A), CTU-Conzepte Technik Umwelt AG (CH) and Repotec Renewable Power Technology Umwelttechnik GmbH (A). Further partners are the DBFZ German Biomass Research Centre (Coordinator; GER), Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals (CZ), VNG Verbundnetzgas (GER), EdF Electricité de France (F) and BKG Biomassekraftwerk Güssing GmbH (A). The preparation of this paper would not have been possible without the support, hard work and endless efforts of a large number of individuals and institutions. Thanks to all colleagues from the organisations BKG, CTU, PSI, Repotec and Vienna University of Technology for all their help, support, interest and valuable hints. The authors extend their gratitude and appreciation to all supporting institutions, in particular: European Commission—6th FP, Project No TREN/05/FP6EN/S07.56632/019895, Swiss electric research, Government Burgenland/wibag, and Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management/KKA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Rehling
    • 2
  • Hermann Hofbauer
    • 1
  • Reinhard Rauch
    • 1
  • Christian Aichernig
    • 2
  1. 1.Vienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria
  2. 2.Repotec Umwelttechnik GmbHViennaAustria

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