Disputation i kemiteknik: Mario Morgalla

Titel: Benzene-char conversion and particle-vapor characterization in biomass gasification
Ämne: Kemiteknik
Fakultet: Fakulteten för teknik
Datum: Torsdagen den 31 maj 2018 kl 10.00
Plats: Sal M1083 (Södrasalen), hus M, Växjö
Opponent: Adjungerad professor Henrik Wiinikka, Luleå tekniska universitet
Betygsnämnd: Professor Alberto Gomez-Barea, Universidad de Sevilla, Spanien
Docent Joakim Pagels, Lunds universitet
Docent Kentaro Umeki, Luleå tekniska universitet
Ordförande: Professor Bo Jonson, Institutionen för byggd miljö och energiteknik, Linnéuniversitetet
Handledare: Professor Michael Strand, Institutionen för byggd miljö och energiteknik, Linnéuniversitetet
Examinator: Professor Ulrika Welander, Institutionen för byggd miljö och energiteknik, Linnéuniversitetet
Spikning: Onsdagen den 9 maj 2018 kl 10.00 på Universitetsbiblioteket i Växjö


Biomass is increasingly attracting attention as an alternative to fossil fuels. Gasification permits the thermochemical conversion of biomass into a product gas rich in carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The product gas can be further processed to generate heat, electricity, synthesis gas, chemicals, and biofuels. Particulate matter (PM), inorganic and organic (tars) impurities are formed as contaminants in the gasification process. In this thesis PM and tars formed during atmospheric fluidized bed biomass gasification are characterized and the conversion of a model tar compound (benzene) using a biomass based char aerosol in high temperature (HT) applications is investigated.

PM in the product gas of a steam-blown atmospheric bubbling fluidized bed gasifier was characterized for mass size distribution and concentration, morphology, and elemental composition. The hot product gas was extracted using a HT-dilution probe combined with a primary and a secondary thermodenuder to adsorb tars and investigate the volatility/thermal stability of the remaining aerosol, respectively. Size distributions with three distinct modes were established. The fine and intermediate modes were mainly formed by tar and alkali vapors that had condensed in the sampling and conditioning systems. The coarse mode mainly consisted of the original particles, which are char, fly ash, and fragmented bed material. The presented PM sampling and conditioning system also showed the potential for online monitoring of heavy tars.

The tar conversion performance of finely dispersed char particles within a HT-filter and an Al2O3 bed were tested experimentally using benzene as the model-tar. Benzene plus steam (or CO2) were simultaneously supplied to a tubular ceramic reactor that was heated electrically. Fragmented char particles were suspended and continuously supplied via a separate supply line. A HT-filter or a packed bed of crushed Al2O3 balls was positioned in the reactor to retain the char particles. The benzene conversion in the so formed hot char bed was investigated by varying the temperature of the filter or bed, gas flow rates, benzene concentrations, gasification media, char type, char mass and char concentration.

Increasing the ratio of the char mass and gas flow rate (also referred to as char weight time) enhanced the benzene conversion. This was accomplished by increasing the supplied char concentrations, reducing the gas flow rates or slowing the char gasification reactions. The latter was achieved by lowering the steam concentrations or changing the gasification medium from steam to CO2. Increasing the temperature of the Al2O3 bed did not only raise the char gasification rate and thus reduced the char weight time but also showed to enhance the specific benzene conversion activity of the woody char samples. For a certain char concentration, however, in the 900−1100 °C temperature range, the combined effect was to lower benzene conversions at higher temperatures. The apparent rate constant of the benzene conversion was slightly higher when CO2 rather than steam was used as the gasification medium. Increasing the benzene concentration slightly reduced the benzene conversion. Activated carbon pellets showed higher benzene conversions compared to a pine wood char which was related to the higher specific surface area of the activated carbon pellets. In contrast to a commercially available barbeque charcoal made from broadleaf wood, steam-activated woody charcoal converted benzene even in the absence of steam. This was probably due to the earlier steam activation of the woody charcoal and thus higher microporous surface area compared with that of the barbeque charcoal. Doping the woody barbeque charcoal with approximately 0.7 wt. % iron or 2 wt. % potassium did not improve the specific benzene conversion of the char. For a certain char concentration, however, the doping increased the char gasification rate, leaving less char in the packed alumina bed, thus leading to overall lower benzene conversions.

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