Canadian Biomass Magazine

Production of biofuel by gasification of biomass residues validated

September 26, 2019

Crushed bark (woody raw material for gasification), FT liquid product and FT wax.

Production of biofuel by gasification of biomass residues was successfully validated in the EU’s COMSYN project in September. The process performance was verified with bark in an 80 hour-long test run at VTT Research. The syngas conversion to Fischer-Tropsch (FT) products was conducted by IneraTec GmbH.

The main focus of the test was to study and verify the performance of the gas cleaning train, and especially the entire synthesis process with real wood-derived gasification gas.

“The first validation test runs successfully demonstrated the efficiency of the compact gasification and synthesis process concept, as well as the production of FT-products, waxes and other hydrocarbons,” said principal scientist Pekka Simell from VTT.

Crushed bark was gasified in a fluidized-bed gasifier with steam as the main gasification agent. The raw gasification gas was filtered with advanced metal filters of GKN Sinter Metals Filters GmbH. Tars and light hydrocarbon gases were reformed using the staged reformer concept developed by VTT. Final cleaning of the reformed synthesis gas of sulphur and other remaining contaminants was realized through a robust sorbent-based cleaning process developed by VTT.

The ultra-clean syngas was compressed and led to VTT’s mobile synthesis unit called MOBSU, which utilizes the innovative compact Fischer-Tropsch technology of INERATEC. Two products, the FT- wax and FT-oil streams, were collected and will be further refined to high-quality transport fuels by the Unipetrol Centre for Research and Education (UniCRE), assisted by VTT.

Based on the achieved results, industrial-scale plants in the range of 25,000–50,000 tn/a will be designed and techno-economic and environmental assessments. Business case studies will be carried out by the DLR German Aerospace Center and two engineering companies: Wood from Italy and ÅF-Consult from Finland.

COMSYN is a four-year EU Horizon 2020 project that lasts from 2017 to 2021 with a budget of 5.1 million Euros from EU Horizon 2020. The project consortium consists of seven partners from four different countries combining research institutes, SME and top-level European industry.

COMSYN aims to develop a new BTL production concept by means of a compact gasification and synthesis process. Biofuel production costs will be reduced by up to 35 per cent compared to alternative routes, which translates to less than 0.80 euros per litre production cost for diesel. The production concept is based on the distributed primary conversion of various kinds of biomass residues to intermediate liquid products at small-to-medium scale (10-50 kt/a Fischer-Tropsch products, 30–150 MW biomass) units located close to biomass resources. The Fischer-Tropsch products will be upgraded to fuels in existing central oil refineries, bringing the benefits of economy of scale to the overall process.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 727476.

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