Techno-Economic Assessment and Environmental Impact of Shale Gas Alternatives to Methanol
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2014 American Chemical Society. Recent discoveries of shale gas reserves have promoted a renewed interest in gas-to-liquid technologies for the production of fuels and chemicals. One option of particular interest for the chemical industry is the production of methanol. In this work, an economic and environmental analysis for the production of methanol from shale gas is presented. Four reforming technologies, partial oxidation, steam methane reforming, autothermal reforming, and a combined reforming, are considered for the production of the syngas to be fed to the methanol plant. Process simulations are used to assess the performance of each resulting flowsheet. The results identify partial oxidation and autothermal reforming as the most suitable options for methanol production from an economic viewpoint, but the use of the combined reforming turned out to be the best sustainable alternative from an environmental viewpoint.