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Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Simulation and Performance Investigation of a Biomass Gasification System for Combined Power and Heat Generation

[+] Author and Article Information
Munur S. Herdem

Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering,
University of Waterloo,
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo,
ON N2L 3G1, Canada
e-mail: msherdem@uwaterloo.ca

Giancarlo Lorena

School of Environment, Enterprise and Development,
University of Waterloo,
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo,
ON N2L 3G1, Canada
e-mail: glorena@uwaterloo.ca

John Z. Wen

Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering,
University of Waterloo,
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo,
ON N2L 3G1, Canada
e-mail: john.wen@uwaterloo.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received August 30, 2018; final manuscript received May 2, 2019; published online May 20, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Asfaw Beyene.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(11), 112002 (May 20, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1676; doi: 10.1115/1.4043697 History: Received August 30, 2018; Accepted May 05, 2019

The Blue Tower gasifier (BTG) is a promising and relatively new type of technology that can convert various organic materials into syngas. The process proceeds through a stage-reforming concept and uses heat carrier materials for indirect thermolysis. In addition, the modular design of this technology allows for scalability and ease of installation which can be applied to remote or off-grid communities. In addition, there is potential for the valorization of its gasification products to other useful chemicals. Knowing the potential advantages of this technology, the aim of this work is to introduce the BTG technology for potential application to remote communities and to investigate the effects of the main operational parameters on the performance of the system. In this study, we simulated a BTG system connected to a combined heat and power (CHP) plant using aspen plus with Fortran subroutines and given design specifications. The results obtained in this study were verified with reported data in the literature. The maximum electrical efficiency of the system was calculated to be about 25% for biomass with 5% moisture content, 0.5 steam to biomass ratio, and 900 °C reforming temperature. On the other hand, the highest overall system efficiency of the CHP system (sum of the electrical and the thermal efficiency) was estimated to be about 73% for biomass feedstock with 20% moisture content, 0.5 steam to biomass ratio, and 950 °C reforming temperature.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Simplified schema of a Blue Tower gasifier

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Fig. 2

Biomass gasification system overview to produce electricity and heat

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Fig. 3

Biomass drying section

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Fig. 4

Biomass gasification section

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Fig. 6

Syngas cooling and cleaning section (a) and biomass gasification gas engine section (b)

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Fig. 7

Comparison of the simulation results of syngas composition ((a) and (c)) and syngas yield (b) with measured data, where (a) and (b) Treforming = 900 °C and S/C = 1.4, (c) Treforming = 950 °C and S/C = 1

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Fig. 8

Variation of net electricity generation (a) and system efficiency ((b) and (c)) with steam to biomass ratio and the reforming zone temperature

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Fig. 9

CO2 emission with variation of steam to biomass ratio and the reforming temperature

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Fig. 10

NOx emissions with variation of steam to biomass ratio and the reforming zone temperature

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Fig. 11

Net electricity generation (a) and the system efficiency (b) with variation in moisture content of the biomass feedstock. Steam/biomass = 0.5 and Treforming = 900 °C.

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Fig. 12

CO2 emissions (a) and NOx emissions (b) with variation in the moisture content of biomass feedstock. Steam/biomass = 0.5 and Treforming = 900 °C.

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