Gasification System Update

Gasifier Operation

Graduate Student Research Assistant Joe Purdon and Student Research Assistant James Apple observe the flare during a bagasse gasification trial. (Photo credit SERC).

For the past two years, SERC has been investigating biomass gasification for the Indonesian Sugar Group. Bagasse, a fibrous sugar cane waste product, is burned inefficiently in boilers at the Sugar Group factory. An alternative is gasification, a process of partially oxidizing biomass to produce combustible gases that can be burned cleanly and efficiently in a turbine to produce electricity. We are testing the feasibility of gasifying bagasse in a small-scale gasifier at SERC and investigating the economics of larger gasifiers that could be used by the Sugar Group.

Continue reading

Biomass Gasification: The Gasifier has been Commissioned

Gasifier Start Up

SERC staff gathers for the much-anticipated initial system start-up. See additional start-up photos on the back page. (Photo credit SERC).

The gasifier system has successfully completed shakedown testing and is now ready for experimental testing. The gasifier burns wood chips in an air-deficient environment to produce a combustible gas made up of mainly hydrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen. The preliminary test results indicate that the production gas composition is very close to the expected values as provided by the manufacturer. Upcoming experiments will include a series of runs using wood chips of varying moisture contents. The production gas will be sampled and analyzed with a gas chromatograph throughout these runs in order to determine the effect of moisture content in the wood chips on the resulting gas composition.

Continue reading

Biomass Gasification Update

Gasifier Start Up

SERC staff gathers for the much-anticipated initial system start-up. See additional start-up photos on the back page. (Photo credit SERC).

This article was written by Ranjit Deshmukh.

We have successfully completed the first phase of our three- year Indonesian Gasification project in collaboration with the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley. The project is designed to provide support and advice to the Indonesian Sugar Group (ISG) to play a role in the emerging clean energy markets.

Continue reading

Indonesia Gasification Project and the Brazilian Experience

Ranjit, Anand, and Dr. Sanchez in Brazil.

Ranjit Deshmukh, Dr. Caio Sanchez, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Campinas, and Anand Gopal. (Photo credit SERC).

This article was written by Ranjit Deshmukh.

SERC is engaged in an exciting biomass to energy project in collaboration with the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) group at the University of California (UC) Berkeley. SERC and RAEL are studying the feasibility of using gasification of sugarcane residue, called bagasse, for efficient cogeneration (heat and electricity) in the sugar industry. The client, Indonesian Sugar Group, wants to set up low carbon sugar mills; in other words, mills that produce the most amount of heat and electricity per quantity of fuel. Gasification combined with gas and steam turbines has the potential to be more efficient than traditional direct combustion power generation systems. By installing high efficiency power generation systems, the mills will be able to produce surplus electricity that can then be exported to the grid. In addition to earning revenues through electricity sales, the mills stand to earn more by selling carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol.

Continue reading

Biomass Gasification Update

Gasifier Installation

SERC Research Engineer Mark Rocheleau (front left) and student research assistants assemble the biomass gasifier. (Photo credit SERC).

This update was written by Joe Purdon.

The gasifier has safely arrived from India! It is currently being installed here at SERC (see photo, below) and we expect to be generating gas within a month or two. SERC also received the gas chromatograph (GC). This instrument will be used to analyze the producer gas from the gasifier. Over the past two months, we have been studying the accuracy and precision of the GC with calibration gas. This gas mimics what will eventually come from the gasifier. The GC appears to be functioning very well.

Continue reading