The Gasification Process

Gasification comprises the heating of a solid in a very low-oxygen environment, so that all the organic elements turn into a mixed gas, called a “syngas”. This is the process used by the Victorians to produce town-gas from coal. The process operates in a partial vacuum and the amount of oxygen introduced is carefully controlled to be just sufficient to maintain the temperature at the right level (350 to 550 degrees Centigrade) to produce a rich syngas.

Because the conversion of the organics in the biomass is so complete in the gasifier (5), there is very little solid matter left. Most of this falls to the bottom of the gasifier where it is removed, and any remaining gas borne particles are removed by a cyclone (6) as the syngas exits the gasifier. This solid is an inert vitreous material and can be used for the production of aggregates for the building industry.

The syngas is then burnt in a conventional boiler (8), which raises steam (9) to drive a steam turbine (not shown) and generate electricity in the conventional manner.

Because the boiler is burning a gas, the air conditions can be easily managed to control the production of nitrous oxides and the flame temperature can be controlled to eliminate the production of pollutants associated with burning solid matter. This makes the overall process extremely clean and emissions are well below the required maximum levels. Just to make sure that any lingering traces of nitrous Oxides (a product of burning anything in air) are properly dealt with, there is a final stage filtering system (10, 11) for the outlet gases.

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Podcasts/Videos


Middlebury College’s biomass plant, USA

Middlebury College in the USA shows how gasification generates clean, green energy with this short virtual [...]