Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Foster A. Agblevor

Abstract

Fluidization characteristics and co-gasification of pulverized sub-bituminous coal, hybrid poplar wood, corn stover, switchgrass, and their mixtures were investigated. Co-gasification studies were performed over temperature range from 700°C to 900°C in different media (N2, CO2, steam) using a bubbling fluidized bed reactor.

In fluidization experiments, pressure drop (ΔP) observed for coal-biomass mixtures was higher than those of single coal and biomass bed materials in the complete fluidization regime. There was no systematic trend observed for minimum fluidization velocity (Umf) with increasing biomass content. However, porosity at minimum fluidization (εmf) increased with increasing biomass content. Channeling effects were observed in biomass bed materials and coal bed with 40 wt.% and 50 wt.% biomass content at low gas flowrates. The effect of coal pressure overshoot reduced with increasing biomass content.

Co-gasification of coal and corn stover mixtures showed minor interactions. Synergetic effects were observed with 10 wt.% corn stover. Coal mixed with corn stover formed agglomerates during co-gasification experiments and the effect was severe with increase in corn stover content and at 900°C. Syngas (H2 + CO) concentrations obtained using CO2 as cogasification medium were higher (~78 vol.% at 700°C, ~87 vol.% at 800°C, ~93 vol.% at 900°C) than those obtained with N2 medium (~60 vol.% at 700°C, ~65 vol.% at 800°C, ~75 vol.% at 900°C).

Experiments involving co-gasification of coal with poplar showed no synergetic effects. Experimental yields were identical to predicted yield. However, synergetic effects were observed on H2 production when steam was used as the co-gasification medium. Additionally, the presence of steam increased H2/CO ratio up to 2.5 with 10 wt.% hybrid poplar content. Overall, char and tar yields decreased with increasing temperature and increasing biomass content, which led to increase in product gas.

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