A team at Argonne National Laboratory’s Systems Assessment Center has evaluated the well-to-wheel (WTW) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Fischer–Tropsch (FT) fuels produced via various electrolytic H2 pathways and CO2 sources; using various process designs (i.e., with and without H2 recycle); and two different system boundaries: a stand-alone plant (with CO2 from any source) and an integrated plant with corn ethanol production (supplying CO2).
In a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they report that using nuclear or solar/wind electricity, the stand-alone FT fuel production (Naphtha, jet, diesel) from various plant designs can reduce WTW GHG emissions by 90–108%, relative to petroleum fuels.
Zang et al.
When integrating the FT fuel production process with corn ethanol production, the WTW GHG emissions of FT fuels are 57–65% lower compared to petroleum counterparts.
The authors modeled the FT fuel synthesis process using Aspen Plus, which showed that 45% of the carbon in CO2 can be fixed in the FT fuel, with a fuel production energy efficiency of 58%.
This study highlights the sensitivity of the carbon intensity of FT fuels to the system boundary selection (i.e., stand-alone vs integrated), which has different implications under various GHG emission credit frameworks.—Zang et al.
Guiyan Zang, Pingping Sun, Amgad Elgowainy, Adarsh Bafana, and Michael Wang (2021) “Life Cycle Analysis of Electrofuels: Fischer–Tropsch Fuel Production from Hydrogen and Corn Ethanol Byproduct CO2” Environmental Science & Technology doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c05893