Biomass integrated-gasifier/gas turbine combined cycle (BIG/GTCC) systems will be capable of producing up to twice as much electricity per unit of biomass consumed and are expected to have lower capital investment requirements per kW of capacity than condensing-extraction steam turbine (CEST) systems, the present-day commercial technology for electricity production from biomass. The significant levels of biomass available as by-products of sugarcane-processing offer a potentially attractive application for BIG/GTCC systems. We review BIG/GTCC designs and ongoing demonstration and commercial projects and present estimates of the performance of two different BIG/GTCC plant configurations integrated into sugar or sugar-and-ethanol factories. Because of the importance of operating a cogeneration facility the year round in order to achieve attractive economics, we present estimates of the availability of and collection cost for sugarcane trash (tops and leaves) as a fuel supplementary to bagasse. We present estimated costs for electricity generated by commercially mature BIG/GTCC systems using sugarcane-biomass for fuel in a Southeast Brazilian context. The electricity costs are prospectively competitive with CEST-generated electricity, which motivates our analysis of how many BIG/GTCC units might need building (and at what cost) in order to reduce capital costs to competitive levels. We conclude with an assessment of the potential impacts on the Cuban energy sector of the introduction of BIG/GTCC cogeneration systems in that country's sugarcane industry. Cuba's high per-capita production of sugarcane and its heavy dependence on oil for energy provide attractive conditions for a large-scale energy-from-sugarcane program.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law