Biological and Agricultural Engineering

PhD Exit Seminar: Tar Management and Recycling in Biomass Gasification and Syngas Purification

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
2:00 PM

2130 Bainer Hall


By:Zach McCaffrey
Advisor:Bryan Jenkins

Removal of tars is critical to the design and operation of biomass gasification systems as most syngas utilization processing equipment (e.g. internal combustion engines, gas turbines, fuel cells, and liquid fuel synthesis reactors) have a low tolerance for tar. Capturing and disposal of tar is expensive due to equipment costs, high hazardous waste disposal costs where direct uses cannot be found, and system energy losses incurred. Water scrubbing is an existing technique commonly used in gasification plants to remove contaminants and tar; however using water as the absorbent is non-ideal as tar compounds have low or no water solubility. Hydrophobic solvents can improve scrubber performance and this study evaluated tar solubility in selected solvents using slip-streams of untreated syngas from a laboratory fluidized bed reactor operated on almond composite feedstock using both air and steam gasification. Tar solubility was compared with Hansen’s solubility theory to examine the extent to which the tar removal can be predicted. As collection of tar without utilization leads to a hazardous waste problem, the study investigated the effects of recycling tars back into the gasifier for destruction. Prior to experiments conducted on tar capture and recycle, characterizations of the air and steam gasification of the almond composite mix were made. This work aims to provide a better understanding of tar collection and solvent selection for wet scrubbers, and to provide information for designing improved tar management systems for biomass gasification

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