Gasification of biochars: Evolution of pore structure, effects of alkalis and alkali release
Time: Fri 2023-05-26 10.00
Location: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm
Subject area: Chemical Engineering
Doctoral student: Saiman Ding , Kemisk apparatteknik, Processteknologi
Opponent: Professor Jukka Konttinen, Tampere University
Supervisor: Professor Klas Engvall, Kemisk apparatteknik, Processteknologi; Universitetslektor Efthymios Kantarelis, Kemisk apparatteknik, Processteknologi, Materialvetenskap
Renewable energy sources are indispensable to meet the rising demand of energy usage while reducing the negative environmental impact of utilising fossil fuels. Gasification is an efficient technology to convert biogenic waste into valuable gaseous products. The rate of conversion of char, produced in an intermediate step in the conversion, plays an essential role in the conversion of biogenic materials. The conversion of char is significantly affected by properties such as the structure of the char and its alkali content. This thesis presents findings related to the influence of char pore structure development and alkalis content on char gasification, as well as the alkali release during gasification and co-gasification.
Experimental results show that the generation of micropores are directly proportional to the observed reactivity up to 70% of char conversion, after which the catalytic effects of potassium become the dominating factor. Furthermore, investigations of the effect of different intrinsic potassium contents on woody char reactivity demonstrate that no alkali surface saturation point is reached, as is the case for high-ash chars. Application of a modified random pore model enabled a successful capture of the later stages of char conversion in comparison to other kinetic models applied.
Alkali release and sample mass changes were monitored simultaneously, using a thermogravimetric analyser together with a surface ionization detector (TGA-SID). The studies revealed a significant release of alkali as woody char conversion approaches completion during CO2 gasification. For straw char the release of alkali decreased continuously throughout the conversion process. Similar results were obtained for biochar gasification under steam conditions in a fixed bed reactor. However, in this case the process is more complex, including transfer of alkali between particles inside the fixed bed, which influences char conversion.
Co-gasification of different types of biomass can substantially affect char conversion efficiency. In comparison to pure wood, mixing wood and straw had positive effects on the char conversion for rates below 90% of conversion, while exceeding this degree of conversion resulted in negative effects. The most significant positive effect was observed at a gasification temperature of 900 °C, particularly when using a wood-straw blend of 75 wt%:25 wt%.
The above findings are important for the understanding of the mechanisms of char conversion and are valuable in the design of gasifiers. The research provides with a deeper understanding of char structure development, alkali release, and migration during gasification of biogenic materials.