(587aj) Hybrid Thermochemical Processing of Biomass and Natural Gas in a Solar-Electric Reactor

Authors: 
Palumbo, A. W., University of Colorado at Boulder
Sorli, J., University of Colorado at Boulder
Weimer, A. W., University of Colorado Boulder



Hybrid, high temperature processing of biomass and natural gas for hydrogen-rich synthesis gas stretches the utilization of each feedstock for increased selectivity and yield of useable products for various downstream end-uses. Single-step processing in a high temperature non-catalytic reactor decreases overall plant complexity compared to other hybrid processes.  Incorporation of novel solar-electric allothermal reactor system allows for simplified steam-only, highly endothermic reaction chemistry.  Laboratory experiments agree with theoretical calculations and show a potential for H2/CO ≈ 2.0 and CO/(CO+CO2+HCs) ≥ 0.88 at the outlet of the gasifier depending on temperature and reactant ratios. The proposed process is designed to avoid CO2 production in favor of CO while maintaining high levels of H2 in the product syngas for liquid fuel/chemical synthesis or turbine combustion. Process economics demonstrated comparable initial capital and operational expenses compared to conventional gasification processes.  However, liquid fuel yield was nearly doubled, increasing the overall viability of the plant.  Process economics for liquid fuel synthesis were most affected by syngas compression since the reactor is operated near atmospheric pressure.