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Biomass thermochemical gasification: Experimental studies and modeling

Ajay Kumar, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The overall goals of this research were to study the biomass thermochemical gasification using experimental and modeling techniques, and to evaluate the cost of industrial gas production and combined heat and power generation. ^ This dissertation includes an extensive review of progresses in biomass thermochemical gasification. Product gases from biomass gasification can be converted to biopower, biofuels and chemicals. However, for its viable commercial applications, the study summarizes the technical challenges in the gasification and downstream processing of product gas. ^ Corn stover and dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), a non-fermentable byproduct of ethanol production, were used as the biomass feedstocks. One of the objectives was to determine selected physical and chemical properties of corn stover related to thermochemical conversion. The parameters of the reaction kinetics for weight loss were obtained. The next objective was to investigate the effects of temperature, steam to biomass ratio and equivalence ratio on gas composition and efficiencies. DDGS gasification was performed on a lab-scale fluidized-bed gasifier with steam and air as fluidizing and oxidizing agents. Increasing the temperature resulted in increases in hydrogen and methane contents and efficiencies. ^ A model was developed to simulate the performance of a lab-scale gasifier using Aspen Plus(TM) software. Mass balance, energy balance and minimization of Gibbs free energy were applied for the gasification to determine the product gas composition. The final objective was to optimize the process by maximizing the net energy efficiency, and to estimate the cost of industrial gas, and combined heat and power (CHP) at a biomass feedrate of 2000 kg/h. The selling price of gas was estimated to be $11.49/GJ for corn stover, and $13.08/GJ for DDGS. For CHP generation, the electrical and net efficiencies were 37 and 86%, respectively for corn stover, and 34 and 78%, respectively for DDGS. For corn stover, the selling price of electricity was $0.1351/kWh. For DDGS, the selling price of electricity was $0.1287/kWh. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Agricultural|Engineering, Chemical|Energy

Recommended Citation

Kumar, Ajay, "Biomass thermochemical gasification: Experimental studies and modeling" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3358961.