Transport fuels from waste wood

April 19th, 2012 by Lulea University of Technology

A new gasification test facility at the Energy Technology Centre (ETC) in Piteå, Sweden is using pulverised forest residues made up of stumps, bark and twigs in an eight metre high IVAB – manufactured gasifier to produce high-quality synthesis gas intended for transport fuels.

“We use low-quality forest residues, such as tree stumps and the tops of trees, which the wood and paper industry cannot use. People often talk of the need to pretreat these materials or to use them with charcoal to produce synthesis gas effectively. We have shown how to use forest residues directly, and this is an important aspect of our success,” said Magnus Marklund, CEO of ETC.

Magnus Marklund, CEO of ETC, and Fredrick Weiland, research engineer at the ETC (click image to expand - image courtesy of Luleå University of Technology)

The gasification project at ETC works with the direct input of untreated pulverised forest residue. However there have been technical challenges, which scientists and engineers at ETC, Luleå University of Technology, and the commercial partner IVAB have worked on for three years in a project financed by the Swedish Energy Agency, IVAB, Sveaskog and Smurfit kappa.

“The actual input of the raw materials in the gasifying apparatus is a pressurized process. The powder that is fed into the gasifier is composed of fibres and particles, which vary in characteristics depending on the origin of the material, which could come from birch or pine forests.

“It places demands on the design in order to achieve a smooth and stable feed into the gasifier,” said Fredrik Weiland, research engineer at ETC, and a PhD student at Energy Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.

To minimize unwanted nitrogen when the synthesis gas is produced, pure oxygen and carbon dioxide is used when the raw material is transformed into synthesis gas in the gasifier.

“Our synthesis gas has very low levels of hydrocarbons which is good when you want to produce fuels from gas.

A possible final product could be methanol, hydrogen and even synthetic benzine,” Magnus Marklund said.

 

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