Combined heat and power turbines: market sizing?

The purpose of this data-file is to ballpark the ultimate potential market size for combined heat and power systems in the US (CHPs), most probably powered by natural gas, but possibly also biogas or hydrogen.

Our build-up looks across five main categories: large power facilities, large industrial heating facilities, landfill gas, electric vehicle charging and smaller-scale commercial and multi-family usage.

Our main conclusion is that ultimate market sizing could vary by a factor of 100x. Please download the data-file for our base case estimates on the potential market size.

Landfill gas: rags to riches?

Methane emissions from landfills account for 2% of global CO2e. c70% of these emissions could easily be abated for c$5/ton, simply by capturing and flaring the methane. Going further, low cost uses of landfill gas in heat and power can also make good sense. But vast subsidies for landfill gas upgrading, RNG vehicles and biogas-to-jet may not be cost-effective.

Landfill gas: the economics?

The purpose of this data-file is to model the typical costs of producing raw landfill gas (a mixture of CH4, CO2 and other impurities) at a solid waste landfilling facility.

Our capex and opex cost build-ups are derived from EPA guidance and our gas evolution equations are derived from a line-by-line breakdown of landfill products (below). Note this is prior to gas cleaning and upgrading.

We estimate that a typical landfill facility may be able to capture and abate 70% of its methane leaks for a CO2-equivalent cost of $5/ton. Other landfill gas pathways get more complex and expensive.

Power capacity of a typical home?

This data-file aims to estimate the power capacity required for a typical home circa 2010, 2020 and 2030, under various energy transition scenarios.

Our methodology is to tabulate the typical power consumption of various appliances, then estimate the number of these appliances that would be required.

A typical home in the developed world currently has a 10kW maximum power capacity before tripping its circuit-breaker (although it varies).

This could easily double in the energy transition, due to phasing back gas heating, gas cooking and the addition of home charging stations for electric vehicles.

The only thing is that upgrading the power capacity of home can typical cost $1,000-5,000, and sometimes as much as $20,000.

The Top Public Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file compiles all of our insights into publicly listed companies and their edge in the energy transition: commercialising economic technologies that advance the world towards ‘net zero’ CO2 by 2050.

Each insight is a differentiated conclusion, derived from a specific piece of research, data-analysis or modelling on the TSE web portal; summarized alongside links to our work. Next, the data-file ranks each insight according to its economic implications, technical readiness, its ability to accelerate the energy transition and the edge it confers on the company in question.

Each company can then be assessed by adding up the number of differentiated insights that feature in our work, and the average ‘score’ of each insight. The file is intended as a summary of our differentiated views on each company.

The screen is updated monthly. At the latest update, in February-2021, it contains 200 differentiated views on 100 public companies.

The Top 40 Private Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file presents the ‘top 40’ private companies out of several hundred that have crossed our screens since the inception of Thunder Said Energy, looking back across all of our research.

For each company, we have used apples-to-apples criteria to score  economics, technical readiness, technical edge, decarbonization credentials and our own depth of analysis.

The data-file also contains a short, two-line description follows for each company, plus links to our wider research, which will outline each opportunity in detail.

Gas-to-liquids: the economics?

This data-file captures the economics of gas-to-liquids, including the formation of syngas in an auto-thermal reformer, then the subsequent upgrading into liquids via the Fischer-Tropsch reaction.

Our base case is that $100/bbl realizations are required for a 10% IRR. You can stress-test the economics as a function of gas prices, capex costs, thermal efficiencies, carbon intensity, CO2 prices and other operating costs.

Our inputs for each of the categories above are substantiated by collating data-points from past projects and technical papers. Finally, our notes and review of GTL patents are outlined in the final tabs.

Gas treatment: an overview?

The data-file gives an overview of different gas-sweetening and gas-processing operations, outlining the process, indicative costs, and drawbacks. We also note 20 companies with gas treatment technologies, although our list is by no means exhaustive.

Gas sweetening may be particularly important as global gas demand trebles in our roadmap to net zero and to remove H2S and CO2 from growing volumes of biogas.

The main method used for conventional gas-sweetening is chemical absorption using amines. We estimate that a mid-size facility of 500mmcfd capacity must levy a $0.15/mcf gas treatment cost and emit around 3.5kg/boe, to take out c7% H2S and CO2 from the mix.

Small-scale biogas technologies can be an order of magnitude more expensive, especially for early-stage biological processes being explored.

Other technologies in the data-file include wet-scrubbing using solvents, membranes, metal oxide guards, swing absorption and water removal.

LNG in the energy transition: rewriting history?

A vast new up-cycle for LNG is in the offing, to meet energy transition goals, by displacing coal and improving industrial efficiency. 2024-25 LNG markets could by 100MTpa under-supplied, taking prices above $9/mcf. But at the same time, emerging technologies are re-shaping the industry, so well-run greenfield projects may resist the cost over-runs that marred the last cycle. This 18-page note outlines who might benefit and how.

LNG liquefaction: what challenges and opportunities?

This data-file tracks patent progress into LNG liquefaction plants from 2020, by reviewing forty recent patent filings from leading companies in the industry (integrated oil companies and service providers).

We reach three key conclusions:  (1) LNG capex costs should not be overly fixated upon, as they can come at the expense of higher opex and emissions intensities. (2) The next generation of modular plants offer a step-change from the first generation. (3) And new process technologies are helping to improve efficiency across different LNG process units and their fabrication.

The full data-file spells out our conclusions,  with details on each of the underlying patents, a review of companies filing LNG patents in 2020.