Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 598–618 | Cite as

Techno-economic evaluation of a biogas-based oxidative coupling of methane process for ethylene production

  • Alberto T. PenteadoEmail author
  • Mijin Kim
  • Hamid R. Godini
  • Erik Esche
  • Jens-Uwe Repke
Research Article


This contribution is a preliminary techno-economic assessment of a biogas-based oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) process. Biogas is frequently utilized as a renewable energy source within small scale combined heat and power plants or as a natural gas substitute. The activation of methane also enables its utilization as a feedstock to produce chemicals. In this sense, the OCM process allows for the direct conversion of methane into ethylene, which is a major building block for the chemical and polymer industries. Biogas resulting from the anaerobic digestion of vinasse, a liquid effluent from bioethanol industry, is treated for contaminant removal and its methane content is converted into ethylene, which is then purified as the main product. The biogas cleaning process is assessed based on literature data, while an experimentally validated simulation model is used to assess the OCM process. A techno-economic evaluation is then performed through a Monte Carlo simulation, wherein uncertain parameters take random values between reasonable bounds. The net present value results positive in 74% of the cases, indicating that the project is profitable under a wide range of scenarios. Some performance improvement opportunities have been identified and highlighted to guide future studies in the topic.


biogas conversion ethylene production oxidative coupling of methane feasibility study 


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The authors gratefully thank the support from the group of Biological Treatment of Residuary Waters from Mauá Institute of Technology led by Prof. Dr. José Alberto Domingues Rodrigues for providing data on the biogas production rates and composition. Alberto T. Penteado acknowledges the funding from CAPES/Brazil (11946/13-0). Financial support from the Cluster of Excellence Unifying Concepts in Catalysis by the German Research Foundation (DFG EXC 314) and from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF 01DN17023) are also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto T. Penteado
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mijin Kim
    • 1
  • Hamid R. Godini
    • 1
  • Erik Esche
    • 1
  • Jens-Uwe Repke
    • 1
  1. 1.Process Dynamics and Operations GroupTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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