journal article

Techno-economic assessment of H2 extraction from natural gas distribution grids: A novel simulation-based optimization framework for pressure swing adsorption processes


Green H2 plays an important role in the global energy transition. To improve its supply chain economics, the already existing gas grids can be an interim solution for its storage and transportation infrastructure. Injecting H2 into the gas networks seems straightforward from a process design standpoint. However, the extraction, at the other end of the supply chain, poses challenges, and its feasibility from the techno-economic viewpoint is crucial and can support the further development of such programs. This article presents a rigorous techno-economic and optimization model for this process developed in Aspen Adsorption V11 and MATLAB. This holistic model uses the cyclic steady-state approach of Aspen Adsorption V11, which avoids the redundant computations for achieving the steady-state performance in the dynamic simulation approach and allows for the development of a novel simulation-based optimization framework. The proposed optimization model can be used in other pressure swing adsorption applications to improve the rigorousness of the optimal solution and computational time. The results show that H2 extraction from a distribution grid with 30 mol% H2 and 70 mol% CH4 at 12 bar operating pressure costs $0.8064/kg-H2 and $0.9012/kg-H2 for product purities of 99.00 mol% and 99.97 mol%, respectively. Additionally, this study explores the impact of N2 and CO2 presence in natural gas on H2 separation costs. For natural gas containing CH4: CO2: N2 with a molar ratio of 95:2:3 mixed with 30 mol% H2, the separation cost of the 99.00 mol% pure H2 increases by 11.6% to $0.8998/kg-H2; however, based on the simulation, the purity of 99.97 mol% due to the presence of N2 is not technically achievable.
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