Gallery: New Gasification Process More Efficiently Converts Biomass to ...

 

A traditional gasification plant

Turning biomass like switchgrass and other plants into usable fuel is no easy feat. Gasification, one method of converting feedstocks to fuels, traditionally produces greenhouse gas emissions and isn’t very efficient–until now, that is. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Minnesota have created a gasification process that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and doubles the amount of fuel that can be converted from biomass.

Switchgrass is one feedstock that can be  used to make biofuels

Conventional gasification works like this: The feedstock is placed in a reactor, where high temperatures break the substance down into carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which can then be used to make a number of different fuels. However, in traditional reactors, about half that carbon in the biomass gets converted into carbon dioxide rather than carbon monoxide, an inefficient and polluting process.

To remedy that situation, researchers created a special catalytic reactor and gasified the biomass in controlled amounts of CO2 and methane. By using this type of reactor, researchers were able to convert all the carbon dioxide in the biomass and methane into carbon monoxide. That way, all of the carbon dioxide in the biomass can be used to create biofuels, a huge step forward in boosting the process’s efficiency.

Scientists are still perfecting the system, but they say it could be market-ready in as few as two years.

Via Physorg

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4 Comments

  1. james githeko June 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Giant bamboo DENDROCALAMUS GIGANTEUS grows very well in most highland areas of East Africa.
    This new technology, if used on bamboo can open up a whole new area of sustainable biofuels.

  2. bioleux May 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    The usual gasifier problems can be resolved by using, paradoxically, a simple and “dirty” gasifier as a reliable method of syngas cleanup has been created.
    A PARS electric scrubber operates on hot syngas and uses less than 1% of the energy stream.

  3. Plans for California Hy... July 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

    [...] past week the Portuguese company Martifer Renewables abandoned plans to build a hybrid solar-biomass power facility in Fresno County, California due to objections from neighbors over air quality. The [...]

  4. cvanmilligen April 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    This is wonderful news. It means that in as little as 2 years these researchers will be doing what we did last year.

    Bioten Power and Energy Group Inc
    http://www.biotenpower.com

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