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Design Basis Statement: CH E 464 Design I

Project Title: Biogas Treatment for Power Generation

Biogas is renewable but the quality of biogas streams is variable. This project will examine
processes to clean-up produced biogas from three different source types to achieve a more
consistent biogas product stream. The process design must meet given product gas specification as
well as supply thermal energy to the digesters to keep them warm enough to support anaerobic
biogas production if required. Options to convert biogas to another form of energy may be

Strategic Intent:
Biogas produced from landfills, sewage systems, manure and other waste biomass is emerging as a
new energy source in Western Canada. Simple digesters have been used for gas production from
waste for many years in developing countries and in some Canadian agricultural operations. The
renewable gas produced is more difficult to use than natural gas from a well, as it is usually
saturated with water vapour; is low pressure (often atmospheric or less than 20 kPag); and also can
contain significant amounts (up to 50% or more) of carbon dioxide, air, and other contaminants.
While this is not a concern if the gas is used as a source of heat in a simple burner, the poor and
often inconsistent quality of the produced gas can cause problems when it is used for power
generation in an engine or combined with make-up natural gas from another source, which may
increase equipment costs and maintenance costs.

Deliverables: Projects should have all of the following elements for students to translate into
deliverables for a 6 week project with 4 team members.

1. Project and Team Management
2. Data Acquisition and Evaluation
3. PFD development and process simulation/modeling, complete with heat and material balance
4. Equipment selection and preliminary specification
5. Analysis of Regulatory, Safety (PHA and checklist analysis), Environment, and Standards Issues
6. Capital and Operating Cost Estimates
7. Project evaluation using sustainability criteria (economic, environmental and social considerations)
8. Technical written report and oral poster presentation

Chemical and Materials Engineering

12th Floor, Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, 9211 116 Street University of Alberta Edmonton Canada T6G 1H9
Telephone: (780) 492-3321 Fax: (780) 492-2881
Problem Statement:
Separation of biogas produced from three different source types to meet a given gas specification.
The biogas must be dried, treated, and compressed in all three cases to achieve the same end
product gas stream. A global objective is to determine which stream is the most economic to
capture. Each team will assess a different biogas source type. Digester, landfill, and mine design
are not within the scope of the project.

Primary Objective: Determine the feasibility of investing in biogas processing methods and design
the most promising method for a specific gas composition representative of a biogas source type.
The government will likely invest more in the method that is closest to being commercial.
Understanding this can help drive policy direction.
Business Case What are the economics of capturing each type of biogas given the same
product value.
Environmental Case - Minimize GHG emissions, odours and environmental impact
Safety Issue Presence of oxygen in some streams due to air in the biomass

Feedstock Design Basis:
Biogas Sources/Pressures (each team will have a different type of feed biogas)
Biogas #1 - Landfill biogas (50% CH4; 40% CO2; 8% N2; 2% O2) @ 125 kPa(a)
Biogas #2 Cattle Manure biogas (65% CH4; 30% CO2; 4% N2; 1% O2) @ 250 kPa(a)
Biogas #3 - Coal Mine Biogas (80% CH4, 20% CO2, trace of H2S) @ 750 kPa(a)
Design Flowrates:
All streams to contain 10 million scfpd of methane
All streams are saturated with water at inlet temperature and pressure
All inlet streams are at 35oC
Product value = $2.9/GJ

Product Design Basis:
Product Specifications:
Methane at least 97% purity
Gas discharge pressure = 1500 kPa(a)
Water content <4 pounds of water per mmscf

Additional Information:
a. Produce gas product stream to supply fuel for dehydration, treating and
b. Cooling water available at 20oC used to heat digesters.

Chemical and Materials Engineering

12th Floor, Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, 9211 116 Street University of Alberta Edmonton Canada T6G 1H9
Telephone: (780) 492-3321 Fax: (780) 492-2881