Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Steam gasification of plant biomass using molten carbonate salts

1 January 2013
Publication year: 2013
Source:Energy, Volume 49

This paper explores the use of molten alkali-carbonate salts as a reaction and heat transfer medium for steam gasification of plant biomass with the objectives of enhanced heat transfer, faster kinetics, and increased thermal capacitance compared to gasification in an inert gas. The intended application is a solar process in which concentrated solar radiation is the sole source of heat to drive the endothermic production of synthesis gas. The benefits of gasification in a molten ternary blend of lithium, potassium, and sodium carbonate salts is demonstrated for cellulose, switchgrass, a blend of perennial plants, and corn stover through measurements of reaction rate and product composition in an electrically heated reactor. The feedstocks are gasified with steam at 1200 K in argon and in the molten salt. The use of molten salt increases the total useful syngas production by up to 25%, and increases the reactivity index by as much as 490%. Secondary products, in the form of condensable tar, are reduced by 77%.


► The presence of molten salt increases the rate of gasification by up to 600%. ► Reaction rates across various feedstocks are more uniform with salt present. ► Useful syngas yield is increased by up to 30% when salt is present. ► Secondary production of liquid tars are reduced by 77% when salt is present.

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