Disrupting Networks from Below
Edited by Tineke M. Egyedi and Donna C. Mehos
Chapter 11: Building a Syngas Infrastructure: Translating Inverse Properties into Design Recommendations
Paulien M. Herder and Rob M. Stikkelman INTRODUCTION The current energy infrastructure and energy sourcing in the Netherlands, as in most developed countries, is rigid and inflexible. Power stations and oil refineries have spent decades converting one specific energy carrier into just a few products. The energy system has evolved into a system where most coal becomes electricity, crude oil is typically turned into transport fuels and natural gas is used to fuel power plants in order to produce power and heat. Unstable politics concerning fossil fuel reserves lead to price volatility in the market and are a serious threat to the worldwide security of supply of oil, coal and gas. Since the current energy conversion system is quite inflexible in its need for the various feedstocks, it is important to reduce the dependency on specific fossil fuels by increasing the feedstock flexibility. At the same time, the increase in feedstock flexibility should not harm the current industry’s abilities to feed downstream plants and processes with appropriate hydrocarbons. The Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is a prime example of a large energy-based industrial cluster that needs to address fuel flexibility in order to survive in the long term. As a possible answer to the uncertainties in fossil fuel supply, the development of a synthesis gas infrastructure may be considered (Herder et al. 2008a). Synthesis gas or syngas (not to be mistaken with synthetic natural gas) is a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2). It can be produced by...
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