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ENERGIX-Stort program energi

Research Project GASPRO Fundamental insight into biomass gasification using experiments and mathematical modelling

Alternative title: Forskerprosjekt GASPRO Fundamentale studier av gassifisering av biomasse ved bruk av eksperimentelle og matematiske metoder

Awarded: NOK 12.7 mill.

Biomass gasification coupled with catalytic synthesis has been identified as one of the most promising, closest to commercialization and viable technologies for production of low-carbon transportation fuels, such as Fischer-Tropsch, methanol and DME. However, to this day, there are few truly commercial gasifiers of biomass, operating without government support or subsidies, and even fewer that are integrated with fuel synthesis. The main reason for this is the problems related to products of incomplete gasification (soot, tars, and char). Products of incomplete gasification are responsible for fouling in process equipment; they contaminate and/or deactivate catalytic reactors and reduce the overall energy efficiency of the installations. More importantly, they introduce uncertainties; of poor gasification performance, of poor process economy, of difficult plant engineering etc. Most importantly, this uncertainty can lead to unwillingness to invest in the gasification technology from commercial perspective. As long as this uncertainty is present, low-carbon biofuels produced via gasification will remain a promising, viable, but on-the-paper technology. In this research project, we wish to change this by addressing the uncertainties in biomass gasification directly. We will use advanced computational methods and new experimental infrastructure to address the Achilles heel of biomass gasification. We aim to show (experimentally and numerically) that energy efficiency (and thus competitiveness and economy) in biomass gasification can be improved by using results obtained from fundamental research methods. The international team of researchers in this project (NTNU, SINTEF, Sandia Ntl. Lab, Stanford, Cornell) will provide a fundamental research base for current and future competence building projects and establish a communication bridge between universities, research institutes and industry thus accelerating the acceptance and confidence in the gasification technology. The project has progressed far on developing the necessary fundamental understanding of the gasification process, including detailed particle simulations, detailed kinetic understanding of both the thermal conversion of the fuel particle as well as production of soot particles as product from char and tar conversion. This is reflected in the publications i high impact journals from this project so far. Experiments have been conducted in Sandia Ntl Labs after Covid shutdown, and the results are now being analyzed for publication. Simulations and studies of soot problems in flow reactors have been carried out and published. These are important advances in optimizing such processes on a large scale. We have furthermore expanded the scope by implementing results from other projects on the development of chemical schemes for waste streams. In this way we are able to study gasification of more diverse feed stocks.

Biomass gasification coupled with catalytic fuel synthesis has been identified as the most promising, closets to commercialization and most viable technology for production of 2nd generation transportation fuels. However, to this day, there are very few truly commercial gasifiers, operating without government support or subsidies, , generating useful gas from biomass and even fewer that are integrated with fuel synthesis. The main reason for this are the problems related to products of incomplete gasification (soot, tars, and char). These products are responsible for fouling in process equipment; they contaminate and/or deactivate catalytic reactors and reduce the overall energy efficiency of gasification installations. More importantly, they introduce uncertainties; of poor gasification performance, of poor process economy, of difficult plant engineering etc. Most importantly, this uncertainty can lead to that companies are unwilling to invest in the gasification technology. As long as this uncertainty is present, 2nd generation biofuels produced via gasification will remain a promising, viable, on-the-paper technology. In this research project, we wish to change this by addressing the uncertainties in biomass gasification directly. We will use advanced computational methods and new experimental infrastructure to address the Achilles heel of biomass gasification. We aim to show (experimentally and numerically) that energy efficiency (and thus competitiveness and economy) in biomass gasification can be improved by using results obtained from fundamental research methods. The international team of researchers in this project will provide a fundamental research base for current and future competence building projects and establish a communication bridge between universities, research institutes and industry thus accelerating the acceptance and confidence in the gasification technology. The project has progressed far on developing the necessary fundamental understanding of the gasification process, including detailed particle simulations, detailed kinetic understanding of both the thermal conversion of the fuel particle as well as production of soot particles as product from char and tar conversion. This is reflected in the publications i high impact journals from this project so far. The experiments have proven more challenging than expected with preliminary results showing unexpectedly low conversion rates. In 2019 several experimental campaigns were effectively accomplished. All-in-all, ten campaigns using both generic biomass sawdust (7 campaigns) as well as dried and milled sludge (3 campaigns). The Entrained flow reactor is now able to deliver useful scientific results to projects in the gasification activity.

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ENERGIX-Stort program energi