ICE-thermochemical conversion of biomass to biofuels—process demonstration unit test results



TRI has constructed and commissioned a process demonstration unit (PDU) at Durham, NC. This integrated gasification and gas to liquids biorefinery plant is designed to process 4 dry tons per day of biomass, generate, clean up, compress and condition syngas, and catalytically convert it to Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) liquids. The gasification system uses TRI's proprietary indirectly heated gasification technology. The synthesis reactor is designed by Emerging Fuels Technology (EFT) and utilizes their proprietary cobalt catalyst to produce fuels and waxes. The PDU gasifier has been in operation for 7500 h, the primary gas cleanup for 3100 h, and the overall system with F-T has operated in the integrated mode for 2800 h, all on woody biomass. F-T liquids have been produced for a total of 4000 h with 2800 h on biosyngas and 1100 h on bottled syngas. The trials have demonstrated clean syngas production with stable H2 to CO molar ratio (∼1.9), 60+% CO conversion in the first stage of F-T and the generation of high quality, sulfur-free, 100% renewable fuels, i.e., pure white wax and water clear, medium fraction hydrocarbon liquids. Operation of the F-T in the second stage mode has also demonstrated up to 65% CO conversion. System configuration details are provided and test results on performance, products, and emissions are presented. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 2012