A group of researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology, SINTEF Energi AS and Queens University have published a paper, in Fuel edition dated of today, on a comparison between the conventional Biomass-to-Liquid (BtL) process and a process where power and biomass are converted to Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels (PBtL).
Most of the process flowsheets were modelled in Aspen HYSYS v9. However the Fisher-Tropsch reactors are not modeled by existing modules inside Aspen HYSYS, due to the need for more detailed models of the reaction stoichiometry and kinetics. They are modeled in MATLAB and the MATLAB CAPE-OPEN Unit Operation wrapper from AmsterCHEM is used to plug the reactor models in Aspen HYSYS.
In particular using a specifically developed reactor model permits to resolve the constraint imposed by Aspen HYSYS that a hypothetical component must have a constant molecular weight. Since the molecular mass of the lumps representing the products of the Fischer-Tropsch reactor will vary according to the H2/CO ratio, the partial pressure of H2O and the temperature, each lump is modeled by three hypothetical components with a given constant molecular mass. The distribution between the lumps follows the Andersen-Schultz-Flory distribution such that the mass is conserved.
The Department of Chemical Engineering at NTNU is well known for using the MATLAB CAPE-OPEN Unit Operation but had so far mostly published on using it for modeling membrane contactors (2018a, 2018b, 2019). The same group applies here the solution in another context and takes here once more the opportunity offered by the flexibility of the MATLAB CAPE-OPEN Unit Operation.
It shows to CO-LaN that the technology provided by CAPE-OPEN is mature.