Validation of a Small Scale Woody Biomass Downdraft Gasification Plant Coupled with Gas Engine
Gabbrielli, R.
Seggiani, M.
Frigo, S.
Puccini, M.
Vitolo, S.
Raggio, G.
Puccioni, F.
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How to Cite

Gabbrielli R., Seggiani M., Frigo S., Puccini M., Vitolo S., Raggio G., Puccioni F., 2016, Validation of a Small Scale Woody Biomass Downdraft Gasification Plant Coupled with Gas Engine, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 50, 241-246.
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In recent years, small scale cogeneration systems (< 500 kWe) distributed in different geographical locations using biomass has received special attention as economically competitive and environmentally friendly ways of producing energy. These systems can be integrated to industrial and agricultural activities where biomass residues are generated and can be converted into electricity and thermal energy by combustion or gasification. The legislations of many European countries such as Italy concerning renewable energy and energy efficiency along the taxation schemes have raised the incentives for small scale cogeneration plants. Consequently, there is a clear economic interest of the companies in this sector and there is also a scientific interest towards demonstration of their energetic efficiency, environmental performance and reliability.
Among the suggested technologies for the biomass conversion into energy, downdraft gasification (using air as gasification agent), coupled with internal combustion engines, has the advantage of high electric efficiency (~ 25%) and low tar generation, making easier the gas cleaning process necessary for its use into engines.
In the present work, the results of a measurement campaign performed on a commercial scale 350 kWth downdraft woodchips gasification plant, coupled with an SI internal combustion engine (ICE), are presented and discussed. The main goals of this first experimental campaign have been to verify the stability of gasifier and engine operation, operability of the plant and to determine its energy efficiency. The campaign verified a stable operation of the gasifier and the plant produced a syngas with a composition suitable for a gas engine. The energy balance resulted in a potential overall wood fuel to electricity efficiency of about 23 %.
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