Thermodynamic and economic evaluation of a novel configuration for sustainable production of power and freshwater based on biomass gasification

  • M. J. Rahimi
  • M. H. HamediEmail author
  • M. Amidpour
Original Paper


This paper presents a novel thermal cycle for renewable production of power and freshwater with the use of biomass gasification technology. For this purpose, a realistic simulation program is developed (in C# programming language) to predict the composition of synthesis gas produced in the gasifier. Using the proposed system, both power and water demand of a small city with 3000 people can be met without any fossil fuel consumption. So, the proposed system can help in reaching a sustainable future. This novel system is then compared with two conventional systems for the production of power and water. The first one is a conventional natural gas-based system without any heat integration and the second one is a natural gas-based system with heat integration. It is concluded that the novel proposed system will result in 5,267,800 m3 of natural gas saving per annum in comparison to the conventional system without heat integration. On the other hand, 4,211,300 m3 of natural gas per year is saved in comparison to the conventional system with heat integration. Economic results show that the levelized cost of produced power and water for the novel system are 0.11 $/kWh and 1.25 $/m3 respectively, and the period of return is 13.6. Additionally, a sensitivity analysis is performed to specify the impact of various thermodynamic and economic variables of the system on the final outputs. This research makes it possible to compare this renewable combined system with other conventional systems from thermodynamic and economic points of view.


Biomass gasification Combined production Economic analysis C# programming 

List of symbols


Heat recovery steam generator area (m2)


Heat exchanger area (m2)




Nominal interest rate (%)


Total capital cost (M$)


The capital cost of the desalination system (M$)


Equipment cost with capacity QB (base capacity)


Equipment cost with capacity Q


Specific heat capacity at constant pressure (kJ/kg)


Energy (kJ)


Filter area (m2)


Gain output ratio (kg desalinated water produced/kg steam condensed)

\( G_{T,i}^{0} \)

Gibbs free energy (kJ/kmol)


Enthalpy (kJ)


Specific enthalpy (kJ/kg)


High pressure


Heat rate (MJ/kWh)

\( \bar{h} \)

Molar enthalpy (kJ/kmol)

\( h_{f}^{0} \)

Enthalpy of formation (kJ/kmol)


Mole of sulfide dioxide (per mole of biomass)


Interest rate


Mole of carbon monoxide (per mole of biomass)


The ratio of the specific heat capacity at constant pressure to the specific heat capacity at constant volume


Equilibrium constant


Flow rate (in desalination system analysis only) (kg/s)


Air molecular weight (kg/kmol)


Fuel molecular weight (kg/kmol)


Brine recycle flow rate (kg/s)


Heat input to the gasifying process (preheating)


Heat output of the gasifying process (heat loss)

\( \dot{Q} \)

The time rate of heat (kJ/s)


Reaction reactants


Universal constant of ideal gases


Mole of carbon dioxide (per mole of biomass)


Temperature (°C)


Mole of hydrogen (per mole of biomass)


Mole of methane (per mole of biomass)


Desalinated water production per day (m3/day)


The mole of water (per mole of biomass)


Water molar fraction in biomass

\( \dot{W} \)

The time rate of work (kJ/s)


Ambient air molar composition


Salt concentration


Specific ratio of sensible heat to latent heat


Mole of nitrogen (per mole of biomass)


Mole of oxygen (per mole of biomass)









Base case


Cooling water




Dry base






Stage of the desalination system


H atoms substitution formula




O atoms substitution formula


Synthesis gas


N atoms substitution formula


S atoms substitution formula



Turbine isentropic efficiency (%)


Compressor isentropic efficiency (%)


Pump isentropic efficiency (%)


Turbine mechanical efficiency (%)


Compressor mechanical efficiency (%)


Pump mechanical efficiency (%)

\( \lambda \)

Latent heat (kJ/kg)


The temperature drop per stage (°C)



Annualized cost of system


Adsorption desalination


Combined cycle




Cold gas efficiency


Capital recovery factor


Fixed operating and maintenance cost ($/kW-year)


Green house gases


High heating value


Heat recovery steam generator


Internal combustion engine


Lower heating value (kJ/kg)


Low pressure


Moisture content of biomass (%)


Membrane distillation


Multiple effect distillation


Multiple stage flash (distillation)


Organic rankin cycle


Power sale price (cent/kWh)


Root mean square error


Reverse osmosis


Steam turbine


Approach temperature (°C)


Top brine temperature (°C)


Pinch temperature (°C)


Terminal temperature difference (°C)


Thermal vapor compression


Water sale price ($/m3)



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Mechanical Engineering-Energy Conversion DivisionK.N. Toosi University of TechnologyTehranIran
  2. 2.Faculty of Mechanical Engineering-Energy Systems DivisionK.N. Toosi University of TechnologyTehranIran

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