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Types of Gasification Technologies
Gasification technologies can be categorized as being of three types:
- Fixed Bed Gasification,
- Fluidized Bed Gasification, and
- Novel Designs for Gasification.
Fixed Bed Gasification
Fixed Bed Gasification can be further categorized into the following:
- Downdraft Co-current Fixed Bed
- Updraft Co-current Fixed Bed
- Updraft Counter-current Fixed Bed
- Cross-draft fixed bed
- Open core fixed bed
Fluidized Bed Gasification
Novel Designs for Gasification
- Hydrothermal Gasification
- Supercritical Water Gasification
- Plasma Arc Gasification
- 2-Stage Gasifier
- Aqueous Phase Reforming
Feedstocks that can be used for gasification include
- Any organic material - Examples include agricultural wastes, hazardous organic wastes, and industrial wastes.
Products of gasification include:
- Intermediate products
- Main Products (Final products)
Advantages of Gasification
- The inhomogeneous biomass waste is converted into a homogenous gas with a considerably higher level of applicability. The product gas may, without any cleaning, be used for gas-fired steam boilers combined with steam turbines or for increased steam superheating (and consequently higher power efficiency) at e.g. municipal solid waste energy plants.
- The product gas may, after a modest clean-up, be burned using low NOx gas burner technology in connection with indirectly fired power technologies (such as indirectly fired gas turbines and Stirling engines) with efficiencies exceeding 28%.
- After adequate clean-up the product gas may even be used for direct firing of gas turbines and gas engines (with a potential efficiency exceeding 32%), and in the future also for powering fuel cells (with efficiencies exceeding 40%).
- Integrated Gasification Combined Cycles can be arranged, producing: Electricity, Ammonia, Oil, Methane and Hydrogen for fuel cells
- Gasification is in widespread use throughout most of the world. The technology ranges from fully commercialized for certain feedstocks and technologies to scientific exploration for other feedstocks and more advanced technologies. The simplest -- the gasification of wood chips producing a gas that is combusted to generate heat -- a wood or a wood pellet stove, for example. The next step is to use the gas to produce steam to power a turbine. Then use the gas to power an internal combustion engine to produce electricity and thermal energy. Next, produce a synthetic gas taken through a catalytic process to produce an alcohol, a biofuel, hydrogen or other gases. Then take the produced syngas through fermentation proves to produce ethanol or other alcohols.
Sustainability and Environmental Concerns
- The principal factor is the sustainability of the feedstocks. Gasifiers can have an enormous appetite for biomass of all types. Consequently, it is imperative that all environmental factors -- soil and soil organisms, water quality and quantity, wildlife and their habitat, wetlands and watersheds are well protected -- even enhanced. There also emissions from the gasification process and the combustion or other use of the gases. All of these concerns can be dealt with in an economic manner. If there are heavy metals mixed with the biomass this could represent significant problems
- The inherent difficulty in optimizing the benefits for local people is the economies of scale. A shift in focus to the economies of integration and value offers promise. The focus should be on cascading every Btu, kilowatt, drop of water, nutrient, chemical and human talent through the system to save money, produce co-products and optimize the productivity and satisfaction of the workers. There are also opportunities in the formation of farmer/worker coops to own and operate the facility. There could be a focus on keeping the value-added benefits in the rural community and in strengthening the community while gaining the multiplier of benefits by turning money over within the community. It is necessary to develop gasification technologies that will encourage economies of integration and value in order to ensure the competitiveness of such systems with economies of scale facilities. Government policy, regulations and incentives may be necessary for small facilities to compete. However, this could well be justified in terms of overall benefits to society.
- Case Study: Wood Waste Gasification & Thermal Oxidation - Prime Energy LLC.
- Sustainable fuel for the transportation sector by Rakesh Agrawal, Navneet R. Singh, Fabio H. Ribeiro, and W. Nicholas Delgass; School of Chemical Engineering and Energy Center at Discovery Park, Purdue University, PNAS published online Mar 14, 2007.
- Validation Report of a Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Biomass Gasifier Power Plant Project in the north-Indian State of Bihar (pdf) by Andreas Gantenbein (Validation by Prof. D. Spreng), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, October 2005.
- Advaced Plasma Power (UK) uses a two-stage gasification process to convert dried organic waste is into H-rich gas, which can be burnt as a power source (e.g. in cars). The remaining soot & ash can be solidified into a material stronger than granite and can be used as a building material.
- Nova Fuels- Develops biomass-to-fuel conversion facilities (that use gasification technology) with joint venture partners. Produces NovaholTM, a mixture of alcohols which can be used as a fuel or refined to ethanol, biobutanol or other form.
- British Airways to buy jet fuel from city waste, 16 February 2010 by Reuters: "British Airways will start sourcing a small portion of its jet fuel from municipal waste from 2014, under a deal with U.S.-based biofuel company Solena Group."
- DOE and USDA Award $24 Million in Biomass Grants, 18 November 2009 by EERE News: "DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on November 12 more than $24 million in grants for the research and development (R&D) of biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. The grants will support a dozen projects aimed at increasing the availability of biofuels and other products produced from biomass."
- 25-26 January 2011, London, United Kingdom: Energy from Biomass and Waste. (Themes: gasification, municipal solid waste, pyrolysis, sewage, waste)
- 24-25 May 2011, Leipzig, Germany: IBC LEIPZIG - International Biomass Conference (Themes: biomass, gasification, pellets, wood biofuels)
- 27-30 September 2011, Chicago, Illinois, USA: 2011 International Conference on Thermochemical Biomass Conversion Science. (Themes: biomass, feedstock, gasification, pyrolysis, technology)
- 3-7 May 2010, Lyon France: 18th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition. (Themes: algae, biomass, bioproducts, gasification, liquid biofuels, policies, second generation biofuels, solid biofuels, sustainability, thermochemical conversion)
- 21-23 September 2010, Ames, Iowa, USA: Symposium on Thermal and Catalytic Sciences for Biofuels and Biobased Products. Hosted by Iowa State University (Themes: bio-oil, catalytic processes, feedstocks, gasification, thermal processes, pyrolysis)
- 8-11 November 2010, Venice, Italy: Third International Symposium on Energy from Biomass and Waste. (Themes: biomass, gasification, waste-to-energy, etc.)
- 16-18 September 2009, Chicago, Illinois, USA: 2009 International Conference on Thermochemical Biomass Conversion Science. (Themes: biomass, gasification, pyrolysis, pyrolysis oil, technology, thermochemical conversion)
This page has been modified from information developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, in cooperation with the Biomass Coordinating Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).
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| Technologies categorized by bioenergy processes:|
Biochemical: Aerobic, Anaerobic, Landfill gas collection (LFG), Biodiesel production, Ethanol production
Technologies by commercialization status:
Analysis of technologies: Life-cycle analysis
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