Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What I Am Up To: Gasification!

Let's talk about my latest project.

I'm doing gasification studies using biomass as feedstock.

Gasification is a process that converts carbonaceous materials, such as coal, petroleum, biofuel, or biomass, into carbon monoxide and hydrogen by reacting the raw material at high temperatures with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The resulting gas mixture is called synthesis gas or syngas and is itself a fuel. Gasification is a method for extracting energy from many different types of organic materials.

The advantage of gasification is that using the syngas is potentially more efficient than direct combustion of the original fuel because it can be combusted at higher temperatures or even in fuel cells, so that the thermodynamic upper limit to the efficiency defined by Carnot's rule is higher or not applicable. Syngas may be burned directly in internal combustion engines, used to produce methanol and hydrogen, or converted via the Fischer-Tropsch process into synthetic fuel. Gasification can also begin with materials that are not otherwise useful fuels, such as biomass or organic waste. In addition, the high-temperature combustion refines out corrosive ash elements such as chloride and potassium, allowing clean gas production from otherwise problematic fuels.


So basically I am up to producing synthesis gas, a combination of largely hydrogen and carbon monoxide so that I can supply them into compression or spark ignition internal combustion engine to power up turbine to generate electricity, or simply run a car.

Run a car, yes. We can run a car using only product gases from burning biomass. No petrol at all.


* * *

It has been almost a year I have been doing literature review. And it is killing me. Thanks to my FYP student, Mr PH, he designed and developed a small scale gasifier for us to play with. And since he's graduating, I am taking over his gasifier for my own benefits. Hahahaha. Don't worry PH, I will put your name in my latest journal. Happy or not?

So let's take a look at some pictures here:

This is the amateur-gasifier that I have been using. Made from stainless steel and mild steel. Basically the whole thing can be dismantled into smaller parts.

This is the inside of the hopper down to the combustion chamber. The lining is made out of portland cement to insulate internal heat and keep the reactor temperature stable. So you put all your biomass in here and start the fire from down there at the grate.

For the biomass, I'm using only these sticks and barks. And something special inside that blue box. The signage might gives out some clues. The biomass has to be all dried up properly.

So now lets start the fire. I remove the top hopper and only leave the combustion chamber. I opened the green-handled valve to allow air to flow into the chamber and help combustion.

Then I attach the top hopper to the combustion chamber once the fire inside the chamber is hot strong enough to maintain its state. That smoke coming out is because there is not enough air to promote complete combustion inside the chamber.

Then I put the biomass into the hopper and I cut the air supply into the gasifier by closing the valve at the pipe down there. Now even less air, more smoke is coming out. The smoke is mainly steam from wet biomass.

Then I close the top hatch opening with the lid that has that pipe attached to it. Even less air, and now the biomass inside the chamber is burning in incomplete combustion.

Then I attach the cyclone humidity trap to literally 'catch' the steam and let it condenses into water droplets.

There. Can see that one small water droplet or not? This is what we call condensates or black wine. Dangerous solution, this is.

Then I simply open the top lid and see what's going on inside. The fire is damn fierce inside there. Notice that bluish to purplish color of fire? That indicates the presence of gas.

Suddenly the fire gets to be so fierce so I need to close the lid and limit the air flowing into the gasifier again. So I put another type of block that I call the top flare point.

...and tadaaaa..!!! Eureka! The gas burns so cleanly that there is no smoke at all. It's like your stove at home, burning natural gas as clean as possible. Look at the beautiful blue flame. It's orgasmic, man!

But at every start of invention there should be a lot of obstacles...for me is the tar production control.

The byproduct of the gasification can be in the type of tarry condensate. Look at the thick tar spots there. Smelly, in a very weird way that it is alluring. The tar is made due to the breaking of aromatic carbon rings at high temperature, hence the weird but somehow pleasant smell.

Black wine condensates collection. You distill this thing and get concentrated aromatic oil then convert it into perfume.

The tar collection on the pipe that goes inside the chamber.

Notice the color difference between the two pipes separated with the lid?

* * *

What important is that, I managed to produce the gas. A few tweaks here and there, I would be able to produce more gas to generate cleaner flame for the better earth. Chewah~

Sile sile komen.


BaBbliNg BaR0nNESs said...


Mr Engineer, I salute you on your project..

Cleaner sources of energy can be a doorway to million dollars worth of project.

- Here's hoping your efforts would help the Earth and well, make lots of money too.

Honeydy Love said...

huhuhu.. Best sgt... ada lagi ke benda tu.. nak pinjam sbb nak kasi letupkan ada satu tpt.. huhuhu..

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

Baron: W'salam. Thanks, mate. I appreciate your supports. Thank you very much.

Diaz: Kak Long, benda ni tak meletup..

skatype said...

mr engineer..
salute la..
mmg hbat la.
smpai xtrkata lorh..
hbat kamoo..
nice lorh.