Techno-economic assessment of common reed and sewage sludge co-fermentation improved by vapothermal pre-treatment
This study examines whether vapothermal pre-treatment is technically feasible and brings economic advantages for a subsequent anaerobic co-fermentation of reeds together with sewage sludge. This is illustrated by the example of remote sites located close to constructed wetlands in the Persian Gulf states. Thus, eight different biogas plant configurations with an installed electric power between 75 and 450 kW, each with and without vapothermal pre-treatment, are investigated in detail related to technical and economic figures. Within the technical assessment, suitable plant components are chosen and overall plant layouts are designed and dimensioned. Furthermore, the requirements on the substrate by means of quantity, pre-treatment and storage capacities are investigated. Based on this, an economic evaluation following the annuity method is performed in order to calculate the respective electricity production costs. The results show that the thermal energy required for vapothermal pre-treatment can be obtained completely from the residual heat of the combined heat and power unit used in each case. Additionally, the specific electricity production costs can be reduced by a vapothermal pre-treatment up to 7 % related to the systems without pre-treatment. Furthermore, a comparison shows that vapothermal pre-treatment can compete with other pre-treatment methods such as steam explosion and hydrothermal pre-treatment for plants with higher installed electric capacity. In addition, it is shown that the considered cases can compete with the production of electricity using diesel as a fuel at a fuel equivalent price of 1.00 € Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Energy system design