(11e) Recent Progress in Gasification/Pyrolysis Technologies for Biomass Conversion to Energy

Digman, B. R., University of Toledo Chemical Engineering
Kim, D. S., University of Toledo
Ju, H. S., Korea Environmental Institute

In this review a discussion of existing techniques as well as recent progress in gasification and pyrolysis for the conversion of cellulosic biomass into a viable source of energy will be presented. Direct combustion of biomass is considered unsuitable and inefficient for energy applications. Interest in the conversion of lignocellulose into liquid or gaseous fuel via gasification and pyrolysis is on the rise. Gasification allows for a larger range of input materials as well as an efficient method of biomass energy extraction (still with room for improvement) in the form of syngas, which, for example, can be used to derive clean transportation fuels. Further discussion into syngas production, process concerns, and ways to address these issues will also be presented. Pyrolysis, a lower temperature (as compared to gasification) anaerobic process is capable of bio-oil production which can be, for example, fed into a gas turbine for electricity generation or into a gasifier to produce syngas and hydrogen. Bio-oil production as well as novel pyrolysis techniques such as catalysis, the plasma technique, and microwave pyrolysis will be discussed. Because of the high oxygen content of biomass (~45 wt%), the co-firing of biomass and coal together is also promising due to less need for an external source of oxygen. Some of the advantages of co-gasification and co-pyrolysis of these feeds is discussed. Finally a brief discussion of the combination of pyrolysis and gasification as well as the liquefaction of syngas to produce liquid fuels will be presented.