Co-Utilization of Methane In Steam-Biomass Gasification Using Concentrated Solar Energy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 1:45 PM
211 C (Minneapolis Convention Center)
Aaron W. Palumbo, Erica L. Jorgensen and Alan W. Weimer, Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Presented is a novel gasification application where biomass is steam-gasified and natural gas is steam-reformed simultaneously in a solar reactor.  Solar-driven gasification is a proven technology, and can augment the biofuel industry as a domestic fuel source.  Gasification performed in an indirectly heated gasifier can achieve temperatures greater than 1150 °C [1], mitigating or eliminating the production of CO2, tar, char, and light hydrocarbon gases in the product gas.  This reduces the need for gas clean-up technology and will not require a downstream water-gas shift reactor to adjust H2:CO.  Thermodynamics favor the formation of only hydrogen and carbon monoxide in the product synthesis gas.  Therefore, a predictable H2:CO can be controlled and tuned for downstream fuel conversion.  Since the majority of biomass carbon is converted to CO, more than twice as much biomass is converted to a useable liquid fuel than in a traditional gasification process.  Preliminary experiments show that reactor temperatures must exceed 1350 °C in order to reduce the effects of the water-gas shift reaction and reform practically all light hydrocarbon gases, including CH4.  This operating temperature is consistent with realizable concentrated solar energy systems.

1.            Piatkowski, N., et al., Solar-driven gasification of carbonaceous feedstock-a review. Energy & Environmental Science, 2011. 4(1): p. 73-82.

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See more of this Session: Developments In Biobased Alternative Fuels I
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum