Techno-economic review of biogas cleaning technologies for small scale off-grid solid oxide fuel cell applications
by Henry Wassajja, Uganda (EUREC 2010/11), who is doing his PhD at TU Delft, The Netherlands, since 2018
Biogas is known as a traditional energy source for off-grid population throughout the world. And currently small-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems are being promoted for off-grid energy supply. Also, electricity demand is increasing at a high rate due to the ever-increasing population and technological revolution. Therefore, promotion of off-grid energy supply needs to be refocused.
The small scale biogas-SOFC is an envisaged modern energy system which can meet both the thermal and electrical energy demand for off-grid population more efficiently (60% at 800 °C) than currently available technologies. However, it has been observed that cleaning of biogas could increase the system capital cost by 6–7% and >40% of the overall annual system operating cost. Cost-effective gas cleaning is therefore important for economic feasibility of the biogas-SOFC energy system.
This review focuses on technical and economic challenges of current commercial and laboratory scale biogas cleaning technologies. Special focus is directed towards cost mitigation strategies for gas cleaning such as combined in-situ bioreactor upgrading and application of cost-effective sorbents. The results are useful to advance implementation of biogas-SOFC systems in off-grid applications in developing as well as developed world.