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Wood Gas or Syngas Gasification of Bio-Mass

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Posted by Curbie on October 22, 2009, 2:05 pm

Well I finally got down to bio-mass gasification in my read queue, Jim
just mentioned it and I think I first heard of it through Ulysses. An
interesting process and another time tested DIY project intended for
home-scale energy production.

I was surprised to read these gasifiers produce ~20% hydrogen (H2),
~20% carbon monoxide (CO), and small amounts of methane, all of which
are combustible. The output gas also contains 50 to 60% nitrogen (N2)
which is not combustible and occupies volume reducing the volume of
combustible gas.


While reading the document it occurred to me that I had seen parts of
this process before while researching hydrogen production using a
thermal-chemical method:

The chemistry and manufacture of hydrogen
by Philip Litherland Teed

Mainly the function of Pyrolysis in the gasification process:

I'm not big about cutting down trees to produce fuel (for me
personally), but I wonder if growing algae which grows fairly quickly
would work as a feedstock for the process???



Posted by Jim Wilkins on October 22, 2009, 2:21 pm

You'd use the good trees for lumber, the poorer ones for firewood and
only pyrolize the limbs, bark and sawdust,  then burn the remaining
charcoal. As I understand it the difficulty is in handling the tars
and the acids that clog and corrode your equipment.


Posted by Curbie on October 22, 2009, 6:02 pm


If I remember correctly, you are fortunate enough to have a piece of
wooded property, my thought is what if someone doesn't have wooded
property, would algae produce a suitable feedstock that could be grown
and carbonized annually???

I read about the tar that is produced by combustion, but didn't
consider any acids in the process, I know burning wood will produce
potassium hydrate (KOH), but I don't know if it's a byproduct of all
bio-mass combustion???

From my reading the charcoal produced from fuel combustion is
necessary for gasification, to start gasification for the first time
requires charcoal to be preloaded. It's my understanding that a
significant percentage (I don't know what %) of fuel is sacrificed to
heat to charcoal to a certain temperature for gasification
(1825°F/1000°C???), so I'm thinking about the notion of a solar oven.


Posted by Morris Dovey on October 23, 2009, 12:01 am

Curbie wrote:

That'll take a sizable concentrator, but could be done.

I'm interested in any follow-through. :)

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by Curbie on October 23, 2009, 2:29 am

Hi Morris,

The Helios design at Solar Fire seems to be in the park for
performance attributes 950°C and oven size, I think it will need
tracking for my purposes though. Do you know of any other design
candidates??? I which I'd paid more attention to solar ovens, but the
notion of cooking food with them seemed a bit too primitive to me.
Baking algae for carbon never occurred to me, who knew.


I have a lot more reading to do on bio-gasification.


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