Installation Combines Membrane and PSA Technologies
Yielding Biomethane-Based CNG for Palm Oil Mill Vehicles
Canada’s Xebec Adsorption has delivered its first “hybrid” biogas upgrading plant, a unit combining membrane separation and fast-cycle PSA/pressure swing adsorption technologies to produce biomethane for natural gas vehicles in Malaysia.
The source of the biogas is POME – palm oil mill effluent – from a producer who will use the resulting biomethane to make compressed natural gas for local mill vehicles.
Fast cycle PSA technology is a robust and proven technology that automatically adapts to changing feed gas compositions while continuously maintaining product quality, Xebec says. “The combination with advanced polymer membranes allows for that robustness of operation to be paired with the added ability to boost recovery to levels unobtainable by PSA technology alone,” states a release.
Lower Pressures, Lower Costs
The lower operating pressure of the hybrid system reduces power consumption and hence overall operating costs.
“Our process specialists have increased the performance of our biogas upgrading systems by over 6% on average, and our mechanical design group has made significant improvements on overall complexity reductions, allowing for superior performance without a corresponding cost increase,” Xebec president and CEO Kurt Sorschak says in a release.
Improved Data Analytics Too
“Our instrumentation, control and electrical (ICE) group has recently integrated advanced data analytics into our control systems, allowing our customers to access live performance data in graphical form via Xebec’s cloud server,” he added.
Xebec earlier this year publicized a breakthrough project for landfill gas-derived biomethane as the basis for CNG for taxis in China (F&F, July 24).
U.S. to Be Slow in 2016
“As for the CNG market in the U.S., we are somewhat pessimistic for 2016, given that the spread between diesel and CNG is virtually zero,” Sorschak says. “We think that the market in 2016 will only be about 40% to 50% of what it was in 2014,” he told F&F – “50 to 70 stations.”
“In Canada the spread is still around $1.50 per gallon, reflecting the higher fuel prices in Canada, and therefore the switch to CNG is still attractive,” Sorschak says. “The new government in Canada is putting a larger focus on the environment,” he adds, “which will make the Canadian market relatively stronger than the U.S. in the next two years.
“But we need to remember that the Canadian market is only about 1/10 the size of the U.S. Having said that, Canada has some considerable catch-up to do in relation to infrastructure build out.
“There are only about 30 stations in Canada, compared to about 1,500 stations in the US, indicating a need to invest more in stations in the next few years.”
‘An Amazing Product Offering’
Market vicissitudes aside, “We have an amazing product offering,” Sorschak says. “The timing couldn’t be better – renewable energy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions is finally being recognized as one of the most important environmental initiatives to pursue today.
“Xebec is more than ready to deliver on the promise of a world powered by clean energy.”
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Source: Xebec Adsorption with Fleets & Fuels follow-up