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Technology of Gasification 1. Concept and Principle Gasification is the process of converting solid fuels to gaseous fuel. It is not simply pyrolysis; pyrolysis is only one of the steps in the conversion process. The other steps are combustion with air and reduction of the product of combustion, (water vapour and carbon dioxide) into combustible gases, (carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, some higher hydrocarbons) and inerts, (carbon dioxide and nitrogen). The process leads to a gas with some find dust and condensable compounds termed tar, both of which must be restricted to less than about 100 ppm each if the gas is to be used in internal combustion engines. 2. Uses of Producer Gas The producer gas obtained by the process of gasification can have end use for thermal application or for mechanical/electrical power generation. Like any other gaseous fuel, producer gas has the control for power when compared to that of solid fuel2.1 Thermal Thermal energy of the order of 5 MJ is released, by flaring 1 m3 of producer gas in the burner. 2.2 Power Generation Using wood gas, it possible to operate a diesel engine on dual fuel mode. Diesel substitution of the order of 80 to 85% can be obtained at nominal loads. The mechanical energy thus derived can be used either for energising a water pump set for irrigational purpose or for coupling with an alternator for electrical power generation, either for local consumption

3. Wood Gasifier This system is meant for biomass having density in excess of 250 kg/m3. Theoretically, the ratio of air-to-fuel required for the complete combustion of the wood, defined as stoichiometric combustion is 6:1 to 6.5:1, with the end products being CO2 and H2O. Whereas, in gasification the combustion is carried at sub-stoichiometric conditions with air-tofuel ratio being 1.5:1 to 1.8:1. The product gas thus generated during the gasification process is combustible. This process is made possible in a device called gasified, in a limited supply of air. A gasifier system (Fig. 1) basically comprises of a reactor where the gas is generated, and is followed by a cooling and cleaning train which cools and cleans the gas. The clean combustible gas is available for power generation in diesel-gen-set. Whereas, for thermal use the gas from the reactor can be directly fed to the combustor using an ejector. 4. Gasifier Specification


BEFORE GASIFICATION Based on wood moisture content of 15% wet basis Woods gross heat energy content: 15,490 kJ per kg Woods gross heat energy content: 6,600 BTU per lb Or 4.3kW heat per kg. Or 2.615HP per lb Gasifiers energy conversion efficiency: 73.57% HOT GAS Gasifiers energy conversion efficiency: 70.95% COLD GAS AFTER GASIFICATION Gas produced from 1kg of wood: 2.185 standard cubic metres Gas produced from 1lb of wood: 35 standard cubic feet Energy content of 1 standard cubic metre of gas: 5,030kJ Energy content of 1 standard cubic foot of gas: 135 BTU After gasification 1kg wood yields 2.185 cubic metres of gas which has a nett heat energy content of 3.05kW heat. After gasification 1lb wood yields 35 cubic feet of gas which has a nett heat energy content of 1.8566HP heat. (Or 4,725 BTU) 1kg of wood produces 2.185 cubic metres of gas or 3.165kW heat from burning gas direct or 0.837kW of shaft power i.e engine or 0.754kW of electric power generated 1lb of wood produces 35 cubic feet of gas or 4,900 BTU heat from burning the gas direct or 1.925HP heat from burning the gas direct or 0.51 HP of shaft power i.e engine or 0.459HP of electric power generated or 0.342kW of electric power generated 1 litre of diesel has a heat energy content of 9.630 kW heat (or 32,895 BTU) 1 litre of petrol as a heat energy content of 8.79 kW heat (or 30,023 BTU) 1 litre of diesel has the same heat energy content as the cold gas from 3.1579kg of wood 1 litre of petrol has the same heat energy content as the cold gas from 2.882kg of wood

INDICATIVE, WOOD WEIGHTS AND GAS VOLUMES REQUIRED AND INDICATIVE, SHAFT AND ELECTRIC POWER OUTPUTS FOR ENGINES AND GENERATOR SETS Fuelled with PRODUCER GAS from biomass (wood) (tabulated values are per 100 cubic inches of total cylinder displacement (4 cycle)) Engine RPM Spark Ignition Engines Wood required 18.426 21.457 22.989 in lbs/hr Gas required in cu'ft'/hr Shaft horse power 648.1 9.375 24.521 27.588 30.652 33.715 35.251 1080.0 1188.1 1242.1 7 1 15.625 17.187 17.968 10.193 11.214 11.724 1200 1400 1500 1600 1800 2000 2200 2300

752.26 810.127 864.06 972.153 10.937 11.717 7.135 7.646 12.5 8.156 14.065 9.177

Electric power 6.116 in kW.e Dual fuel, diesel engines fuelled with diesel plus producer gas NOTE: Wood and gas required is the same as for spark ignition engines Shaft horse power

11.718 13.671 14.647 8.92 9.557

15.625 17.581 10.195 11.471


21.484 22.46

Electric power 7.645 in kW.e

12.743 14.018 14.654

To obtain wood and gas required plus power output values for a particular engine: 1. Select the required RPM column 2. Extract the required tabulated 'per 100 cubic inches' value 3. Multiply that value by the particular engines swept volume in whole 100s and decimals of 100 cubic inches. For example: 350 cubic inches = 3.5

Air Dry Wood Fuel Gross Heat Energy Content = 4.3kW per kg of wood Wood > Gas > Energy Heat Yield (Hot Gas) = 3.165kW per kg of wood Wood > Gas > Energy Heat Yield (Cold Gas) = 3.05kW per kg of wood Wood to Gas Volume Yield = 2.185m gas per kg wood Gas > Energy Heat Yield (Hot Gas) = 1.45kW per cubic metre hot gas Gas > Energy Heat Yield (Cold Gas) = 1.4kW per cubic metre cold gas Wood > Gas > Shaft Power Spark Ignition Engine (Petrol) = 0.837kW shaft per kg of wood Wood > Gas > Shaft Power Spark Ignition Engine (Gas) = 0.82kW shaft per kg of wood Wood > Gas > Shaft Power Dual Fuel Diesel Engine = 0.86kW shaft per kg of wood Wood > Gas > Electricity Spark Ignition Petrol Engine Generator = 0.754kW/hr electricity per kg wood Wood > Gas > Electricity Spark Ignition Gas Engine Generator = 0.697kW/hr electricity per kg wood Wood > Gas > Electricity Dual Fuel Diesel Engine Generator = 0.731kW/hr electricity per kg wood Wood > Gas > Process Heat (Direct) = 3.17kW heat per kg wood Wood > Gas > Process Steam = 4.465kW steam per kg wood Wood > Gas > Power Steam = 3.93kW steam per kg wood Petrol engines run on Producer Gas at recommended, maximum continuous RPM.

High compression engines derate 37.3% approx to recover power including capacity x 1.6 times Average high compression engines derate 42.5% approx to recover power including capacity x 1.74 times Medium high compression engines derate 47.0% approx to recover power including capacity x 1.9 times Low compression engines derate 56.3% approx to recover power including capacity x 2.3 times Diesel (Dual Fuel) engines on pilot diesel plus Producer Gas at recommended, maximum continuous RPM derate 20% approximately. To recover power including capacity x 1.25 times Gas engines run on Producer Gas at recommended, maximum continuous RPM companion ratio: 10 to 1 - derate 10% approximately. To recover power including capacity x 1.1 times

In a presentation to the U.S. Dept. of Energy-sponsored DEER 2009 conference here, Cummins Vice President John Wall said his company is enjoying a successful partnership with Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to develop more gasification-based power projects in rural India. So far, the scheme in India taps local biomass feedstocks, including coconut shells and rice husks, at 20% of the cost of conventional diesel fuel, for generator-set power, Wall said. But sustainable biomass-gasification power looks to have a promising future in more areas and more countries beyond just India, Wall pointed out to Gasification News in a post-conference interview. We now have more than 10 megaWatts [MW] of power with biomass gasification in India, Wall told us. Were working on smaller-scale gasification for rural electricity, and were working with non-governmental organizations to help overcome power shortages in such areas, he said. Such efforts to improve power availability in relatively impoverished areas not only represents socially conscious good citizenship, but also can mean development of a sustainable green business, he added. Cummins not only provides a modified diesel engine (capable of burning a mix of synthesis gases) but also the required power electronics and gen-set equipment, he said. In a separate interview, Cummins-India engineer Anant Talaulicar told us that the scheme (developed together with IISc-licensed gasification technology) employs multiple sizes of diesel engines that have been modified appropriately to handle biomass based gases. The biomass being used is typically wood chips, but also rice husk and coconut shells. We have installed many applications in India successfully now in rural environments mainly for commercial operations. R.S. Raman, Senior General Manager for Cummins-India Energy Solutions Business & Power Electronics, separately added that we have gen-sets in individual power output capacities of 25-KW [kiloWatt], 70-KW, 120-KW and 240-KW. We have executed some projects up to 1-MW power output using multiple product configurations. The IISc-licensed gasification scheme (see: link to source document) can tap wood, woody biomass and agricultural wastes including coconut shells.

IISc Biomass Gasifier Source: Indian Institute of Science

Removal of dry particles/dust is achieved with cyclone filters, while tar and fine particle emissions are removed by water scrubbers. The cleaned syngas is then fed through blowers at the engine inlet through a specially developed carburetor. Engine exhaust heat is recycled for drying feedstock and as input to chillers. While the produced gas varies widely depending upon feedstock, chemical composition is generally about 20% carbon monoxide, 20% hydrogen, 3% methane, 12% carbon dioxide and the balance inert nitrogen, according to Cummins. Calorific value of the syngas is typically 1,100 to 1,200 Kcal per cubic meter. For gen-set applications, tar and particulate matter in syngas must be less than 25ppm, according to the company. IISc points out that its cooperative work with Cummins India involves more than 40 gasifier installations, with Cummins providing generator-sets backed with warranties. With the IIScs gasification technology offering multi-fuel option, there is flexibility for the end user/client to source biomass based on availability thereby keeping the cost of power generation at a minimal, according to IISc. The diverse range of biomass that is being used includes weeds such as ipomea, prosopis julifora, forest residue to industrial wastes such as sawdust and bamboo dust in

briquetted/compacted form. Many of these plants are operated round the clock, and the availability of the plant has been as high as 85% to 90%. The plant with such high plant load factor is able to provide accelerated return to the investor apart from additional revenue in the form of by-product such as activated carbon. Cost of power generation as low as Rs 2.50 per unit electricity generated has been achieved. To sum up the performance, currently the technology is making a modest saving to a tune of 20- 25 kilo-liters of fossil fuel per day and saving valuable foreign exchange to the country. Jack Peckham

Calorific value The calorific value of a fuel is the quantity of heat produced by its combustion - at constant pressure and under "normal" conditions (i.e. to 0oC and under a pressure of 1,013 mbar). The combustion process generates water vapor and certain techniques may be used to recover the quantity of heat contained in this water vapor by condensing it. The Higher Calorific Value (or Gross Calorific Value - GCV) suppose that the water of combustion is entirely condensed and that the heat contained in the water vapor is recovered. The Lower Calorific Value (or Net Calorific Value - NCV) suppose that the products of combustion contains the water vapor and that the heat in the water vapor is not recovered. Higher Calorific Value (Gross Calorific Value - GCV) kJ/kg Acetone Alcohol, 96% Anthracite Bituminous coal Butane Carbon Charcoal Coal 29,000 30,000 32,500 - 34,000 17,000 - 23,250 49,510 34,080 29,600 15,000 - 27,000 12,800 8,000 - 14,000 14,000 - 14,500 7,300 - 10,000 20,900 Btu/lb



Higher Calorific Value (Gross Calorific Value - GCV) kJ/kg Btu/lb 12,000 - 13,500 19,300 12,800

Coke Diesel Ethanol Ether Gasoline Glycerin Hydrogen Lignite Methane Oils, vegetable Peat Petrol Petroleum Propane Semi anthracite

28,000 - 31,000 44,800 29,700 43,000 47,300 19,000 141,790 16,300 55,530 39,000 - 48,000 13,800 - 20,500 48,000 43,000 50,350 26,700 - 32,500


61,000 7,000

5,500 - 8,800

11,500 - 14,000


Higher Calorific Value (Gross Calorific Value - GCV) kJ/kg Btu/lb

Sulfur Tar Turpentine Wood (dry)

9,200 36,000 44,000 14,400 - 17,400 kJ/m3 6,200 - 7,500 Btu/ft3

Acetylene Butane C4H10 Hydrogen Natural gas Methane CH4 Propane C3H8 Town gas

56,000 133,000 13,000 43,000 39,820 101,000 18,000 kJ/l Btu/Imp gal 164,000 177,000 2550 950 - 1150 3200

Gas oil Heavy fuel oil

38,000 41,200


Higher Calorific Value (Gross Calorific Value - GCV) kJ/kg Btu/lb 154,000



1 kJ/kg = 1 J/g = 0.4299 Btu/ lbm = 0.23884 kcal/kg 1 Btu/lbm = 2.326 kJ/kg = 0.55 kcal/kg 1 kcal/kg = 4.1868 kJ/kg = 1.8 Btu/lbm 1 dm3 (Liter) = 10-3 m3 = 0.03532 ft3 = 1.308x10-3 yd3 = 0.220 Imp gal (UK) = 0.2642 Gallons (US)


Sr Fuel Approx heating value Kcal/Kg Natural State A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 BIOMASS Wood Cattle dung Bagasse Wheat and rice straw Cane trash, rice husk, leaves and vegetable wastes Coconut husks, dry grass and crop residues Groundnut shells Coffee and oil palm husks Cotton husks Peat FOSSIL FUELS Coal Coke Charcoal Carbon Fuel oil Kerosene and diesel Petrol Paraffin Natural gas Coal gas Electrical (Kcal(KW) Bio gas(Kcal/cu mtr) (12 kg of dung produces 1 cu. Mtr gas) 1500 1000 2200 2400 3000 3500 4000 4200 4400 6500 Dry state 3500 3700 4400 2500 3000 3500 4000 4200 4400 6500

4000-7000 6500 7000 8000 9800 10000 10800 10500 8600 4000 860 4700-6000


value of fuels

Heat energy is measured in units of joules or calories (1calorie = 4.18 joules). The heat generated by fuels when they burn in joules or calories measures quality of fuels. All fuels do not burn efficiently. Thus there are fuels that produce more heat than the others are. This can be distinguished in terms of number of joules or calories that they generate on burning. The amount of energy generated when 1 unit mass of fuel is burnt completely is known as the calorific value of the fuel. The word calorific is used, not joulific because of the use of the word calorific has been in use for a very long time. When 1 gram of charcoal is burnt, it produces 33 kilo joules. Thus the calorific value of charcoal is 33kJ/g. Sometimes instead of calorific value, another term kilowatt per kilogram (KWh/kg) is used. The table below gives the calorific values of some of the common fuels used for domestic and industrial use. Type of fuel Fuel Calorific value kJ/g Solid . . . Liquid . . . Gaseous . . . Charcoal Coal Wood Dung cake Kerosene Petrol Diesel Ethanol Bio gas Butane (LPG) Methane Hydrogen 33 25.33 17 6 to 8 48 50 45 30 35 to 40 50 55 150 kwh/kg 10.7 8.1 5.5 2 to 2.6 15.5 . 15.5 9.7 11.3 to 20.9 . 17.8 48.5

Later on in the chapter we will see how calorific value is measured. But from the table it is easy to understand that comparison between fuels can be done when their properties as fuels is standardized in terms of calorific values.

Hydrogen as fuel : Hydrogen gas has the highest calorific value in the table given above. Thus hydrogen is the best fuel but since its transport and handling is difficult, hydrogen is used as fuel where it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise hydrogen gas as a source of common fuel is not used in domestic or in industrial situations. Hydrogen gas jet along with oxygen gas is used for producing a very hot flame, which is used for cutting metals in industries. Methane or butane as fuel : Both methane and butane produce good amounts of heat. They are ideal for use as domestic fuels. Since methane has higher percentage of hydrogen than butane, its calorific value is more. Methane (CH4) has 25% hydrogen and butane (C4H10) has 17% hydrogen. Wood as fuel : Wood has been traditionally used as fuel. The main content of wood is cellulose (C6H10O5)n. The presence of oxygen in a fuel, helps oxidation but does not contribute to heat or its calorific value. In fact it is seen that if a substance contains oxygen, it will produce less heat energy per unit weight when the substance burns. In wood therefore, the percentage of carbon and wood is quite less. This gives wood quite a less calorific value. How to measure calorific value of a fuel : The method by which calorific value of substances is measured is called a calorimeter. The fuel whose calorific value is to be measured, is first weighed. Let its mass be g grams. Let m grams of water be heated by this fuel. Measure the temperature of the water before and after the fuel is burnt completely. Let t be the rise in temperature of m grams of water when g grams of fuel is burnt completely. Heat produced = Q = m x s x t m = mass of water in grams s = specific heat of water = 4.2.J/gm x C t = rise in temperature of the water. Thus Q amount of heat is generated by g amount of fuel. The calorific value is given by the following equation. Calorific value = Q/g joules per gram. (for value in kilo joules, divide by 1000)

The figure above shows an arrangement where a candles calorific value is being measured. Heat the water for a while and note the rise in temperature. Let W1 = initial weight of the candle W2 = final weight of the candle

W1 - W2 = weight of wax burnt to heat the water. T1 = initial temperature of water T2 = final temperature of the water T2 - T1 = rise in temperature of water. m = mass of water s = specific heat of water in J/gm/C heat produced Calorific value of wax = mass of wax burnt = (W1 - W2) m x s x (T2 - T1) = J/gm