Improving the performance of fluidized bed biomass/waste gasifiers
Journal article, 2013
Methods to increase the conversion of char and tar in fluidized bed gasifiers (FBG) are discussed, with the
focus on small to medium-size biomass/waste gasifiers for power production (from 0.5 to 10 MWe).
Optimization of such systems aims at (i) maximizing energy utilization of the fuel (maximizing char
conversion), (ii) minimizing secondary treatment of the gas (by avoiding complex tar cleaning), and
(iii) application in small biomass-to-electricity gasification plants. The efficiency of various measures to
increase tar and char conversion within a gasification reactor (primary methods) is discussed. The optimization
of FBG by using in-bed catalysts, by addition of steam and enriched air as gasification agent, and
by secondary-air injection, although improving the process, is shown to be insufficient to attain the gas
purity required for burning the gas in an engine to produce electricity. Staged gasification is identified as
the only method capable of reaching the targets mentioned above with reasonable simplicity and cost, so it
is ideal for power production. A promising new stage gasification process is presented. It is based on three
stages: FB devolatilization, non-catalytic air/steam reforming of the gas coming from the devolatilizer, and
chemical filtering of the gas and gasification of the char in a moving bed supplied with the char generated
in the devolatilizer. Design considerations and comparison with one-stage FBG are discussed.