Supply chain optimization of flare-gas-to-butanol processes in alberta Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • n this work, the economic feasibility of combining a novel portable gas-to-methanol process with a novel methanol-to-butanol process is examined. The gas-to-methanol process converts waste flare gas into methanol using a series of truck-mounted devices deployed at oil production wellheads. The methanol-to-butanol process uses a new proprietary catalyst which produces butanol via a diketene intermediate at a large centralized facility. The goal of this work is to identify the best ways of commercializing this technology in Alberta. To do this, a supply chain optimization model is formulated which considers specifically how many gas-to-methanol trucks should be used and where specifically in Alberta they should be deployed, the specific suppliers of CO2 to use, where the location of the central methanol-to-butanol facility should be chosen, and the costs of transportation of materials between locations. The model framework also considers the possibility of getting methanol in full or in part by alternative means such as producing methanol from conventional pipeline natural gas, or purchasing methanol from petrochemical or biomass-based routes. The supply chain optimization problem is formulated as a nonconvex NLP and BARON is used in a Pareto analysis considering weighted combinations of economic and environmental objective functions. The resulting analysis provides a variety of possible viable strategies which can provide both profitability and reduced environmental emissions in Alberta by using a combination of the novel portable flare gas capture devices with more conventional gas-to-liquids technologies

publication date

  • December 2016