Using Ilmenite To Reduce the Tar Yield in a Dual Fluidized Bed Gasification System
Journal article, 2014
Biomass gasification plays an important role in the emerging production of second-generation biofuels. One of the major challenges facing biomass gasification is to find simple and efficient ways to reform tar components. While the tar causes operational problems, it can be reformed to increase the chemical efficiency of the gasification process. With respect to tar reforming, catalytic materials are of special interest. Many of the materials that have been proposed as promising catalysts are metal oxide-based materials. However, metal oxides also have the ability to transport oxygen when subjected to alternating oxidizing and reducing atmospheres, similar to that which occurs in a dual fluidized bed gasification system. In this work, ilmenite was used as the catalytic material in the Chalmers 2-4 MWth dual fluidized bed gasifier to decrease the yield of tar. The ilmenite was mixed with the silica sand, which was used as the bed material, to investigate how the level of ilmenite affected chemical efficiency and tar yield. Furthermore, energy balance calculations were established to elucidate the general aspects of oxygen transport in dual fluidized bed gasification systems. The results presented in this paper reveal that adding low levels of ilmenite reduces the tar yield by similar to 50%(mass). However, the oxygen transport induced by ilmenite caused a reduction in the chemical efficiency of the gasifier and the heating value of the gas, compared to using 100% silica sand as the bed material. The impact of adding ilmenite was found to be dependent upon the operational conditions of the gasifier; a low fluidization velocity gave the highest reduction of the tar yield, whereas higher fluidization velocities led to increased levels of heavy components. Overall, the use of ilmenite as a catalyst for reduction of the yield of tar appears promising, provided that the level of oxygen transport can be restricted.