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Title: Evaluation of the Relative Merits of Herbaceous and Woody Crops for Use in Tunable Thermochemical Processing

Abstract

This report summarizes the work and findings of the grant work conducted from January 2009 until September 2011 under the collaboration between Ceres, Inc. and Choren USA, LLC. This DOE-funded project involves a head-to-head comparison of two types of dedicated energy crops in the context of a commercial gasification conversion process. The main goal of the project was to gain a better understanding of the differences in feedstock composition between herbaceous and woody species, and how these differences may impact a commercial gasification process. In this work, switchgrass was employed as a model herbaceous energy crop, and willow as a model short-rotation woody crop. Both crops are species native to the U.S. with significant potential to contribute to U.S. goals for renewable liquid fuel production, as outlined in the DOE Billion Ton Update (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/billion_ton_update.html, 2011). In some areas of the U.S., switching between woody and herbaceous feedstocks or blending of the two may be necessary to keep a large-scale gasifier operating near capacity year round. Based on laboratory tests and process simulations it has been successfully shown that suitable high yielding switchgrass and willow varieties exist that meet the feedstock specifications for large scale entrained flow biomass gasification. This datamore » provides the foundation for better understanding how to use both materials in thermochemical processes. It has been shown that both switchgrass and willow varieties have comparable ranges of higher heating value, BTU content and indistinguishable hydrogen/carbon ratios. Benefits of switchgrass, and other herbaceous feedstocks, include its low moisture content, which reduce energy inputs and costs for drying feedstock. Compared to the typical feedstock currently being used in the Carbo-V® process, switchgrass has a higher ash content, combined with a lower ash melting temperature. Whether or not this may cause inefficiencies in the process, needs to be verified by long term test runs. Currently, there are not sufficient operational test data available for the Carbo-V® process for the utilization of higher ash content feedstocks. The application of currently evolving biomass pretreatment technologies, such as pelletization and torrefaction, will be able to expand the portfolio of biomass varieties and species acceptable in gasification processes. Tests showed that 6 mm diameter pellets of switchgrass were superior to 8 mm diameter pellets produced in a flat dye press, and that torrefaction of switchgrass produced an excellent (but currently costly) feedstock that could be handled, crushed, and combusted in a manner compatible with any coal-fed gasification facility. Ceres will use this information in the development of high yielding, dedicated energy crops specifically tailored for thermochemical conversion. CHOREN will make use of the information for improvement or development of low cost, highly efficient biomass gasification processes that convert a wide variety of biomass feedstocks to fuels, chemicals, heat and power via the production of tar free green syngas on an industrial scale.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA (United States)
  2. Choren USA, LLC, Houston, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA (United States); Choren USA, LLC, Houston, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1259482
Report Number(s):
GO18083_Ceres_Final_report_111223
DOE Contract Number:  
FG36-08GO18083
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; Biomass; Switchgrass; Willow; Biofuel; Thermochemical conversion; Gasification; Syngas; Torrefaction

Citation Formats

Park, Joon-Hyun, and Martinalbo, Ilya. Evaluation of the Relative Merits of Herbaceous and Woody Crops for Use in Tunable Thermochemical Processing. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1259482.
Park, Joon-Hyun, & Martinalbo, Ilya. Evaluation of the Relative Merits of Herbaceous and Woody Crops for Use in Tunable Thermochemical Processing. United States. doi:10.2172/1259482.
Park, Joon-Hyun, and Martinalbo, Ilya. Thu . "Evaluation of the Relative Merits of Herbaceous and Woody Crops for Use in Tunable Thermochemical Processing". United States. doi:10.2172/1259482. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1259482.
@article{osti_1259482,
title = {Evaluation of the Relative Merits of Herbaceous and Woody Crops for Use in Tunable Thermochemical Processing},
author = {Park, Joon-Hyun and Martinalbo, Ilya},
abstractNote = {This report summarizes the work and findings of the grant work conducted from January 2009 until September 2011 under the collaboration between Ceres, Inc. and Choren USA, LLC. This DOE-funded project involves a head-to-head comparison of two types of dedicated energy crops in the context of a commercial gasification conversion process. The main goal of the project was to gain a better understanding of the differences in feedstock composition between herbaceous and woody species, and how these differences may impact a commercial gasification process. In this work, switchgrass was employed as a model herbaceous energy crop, and willow as a model short-rotation woody crop. Both crops are species native to the U.S. with significant potential to contribute to U.S. goals for renewable liquid fuel production, as outlined in the DOE Billion Ton Update (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/billion_ton_update.html, 2011). In some areas of the U.S., switching between woody and herbaceous feedstocks or blending of the two may be necessary to keep a large-scale gasifier operating near capacity year round. Based on laboratory tests and process simulations it has been successfully shown that suitable high yielding switchgrass and willow varieties exist that meet the feedstock specifications for large scale entrained flow biomass gasification. This data provides the foundation for better understanding how to use both materials in thermochemical processes. It has been shown that both switchgrass and willow varieties have comparable ranges of higher heating value, BTU content and indistinguishable hydrogen/carbon ratios. Benefits of switchgrass, and other herbaceous feedstocks, include its low moisture content, which reduce energy inputs and costs for drying feedstock. Compared to the typical feedstock currently being used in the Carbo-V® process, switchgrass has a higher ash content, combined with a lower ash melting temperature. Whether or not this may cause inefficiencies in the process, needs to be verified by long term test runs. Currently, there are not sufficient operational test data available for the Carbo-V® process for the utilization of higher ash content feedstocks. The application of currently evolving biomass pretreatment technologies, such as pelletization and torrefaction, will be able to expand the portfolio of biomass varieties and species acceptable in gasification processes. Tests showed that 6 mm diameter pellets of switchgrass were superior to 8 mm diameter pellets produced in a flat dye press, and that torrefaction of switchgrass produced an excellent (but currently costly) feedstock that could be handled, crushed, and combusted in a manner compatible with any coal-fed gasification facility. Ceres will use this information in the development of high yielding, dedicated energy crops specifically tailored for thermochemical conversion. CHOREN will make use of the information for improvement or development of low cost, highly efficient biomass gasification processes that convert a wide variety of biomass feedstocks to fuels, chemicals, heat and power via the production of tar free green syngas on an industrial scale.},
doi = {10.2172/1259482},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {12}
}