With the current trend of CO2 mitigation in process industries, the primary goal of this thesis is to promote biomass as an energy and reduction agent source to substitute fossil sources in the steel industry. The criteria for this substitution are that the steel process retains the same function and the integrated energy efficiency is as high as possible.
This work focuses on advanced gasification of biomass and waste for substitution of fossil fuels in steel industry heat treatment furnaces. To achieve this, two approaches are included in this work. The first investigates the gasification performance of pretreated biomass and waste experimentally using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and a pilot plant gasifier. The second assesses the integration of the advanced gasification system with a steel heat treatment furnace.
First, the pyrolysis and char gasification characteristics of several pretreated biomass and waste types (unpretreated biomass, steam-exploded biomass, and hydrothermal carbonized biomass) were analyzed with TGA. The important aspects of pyrolysis and char gasification of pretreated biomass were identified.
Then, with the objective of studying the gasification performance of pretreated biomass, unpretreated biomass pellets (gray pellets), steam-exploded biomass pellets (black pellets), and two types of hydrothermal carbonized biomass pellets (spent grain biocoal and horse manure biocoal) were gasified in a fixed bed updraft gasifier with high-temperature air/steam as the gasifying agent. The gasification performance was analyzed in terms of syngas composition, lower heating value (LHV), gas yield, cold gas efficiency (CGE), tar content and composition, and particle content and size distribution. Moreover, the effects on the reactions occurring in the gasifier were identified with the aid of temperature profiles and gas ratios.
Further, the interaction between fuel residence time in the bed (bed height), conversion, conversion rate/specific gasification rate, and superficial velocity (hearth load) was revealed. Due to the effect of bed height on the gasification performance, the bed pressure drop is an important parameter related to the operation of a fixed bed gasifier. Considering the limited studies on this relationship, an available pressure drop prediction correlation for turbulent flow in a bed with cylindrical pellets was extended to a gasifier bed with shrinking cylindrical pellets under any flow condition. Moreover, simplified graphical representations based on the developed correlation, which could be used as an effective guide for selecting a suitable pellet size and designing a grate, were introduced.
Then, with the identified positive effects of pretreated biomass on the gasification performance, the possibility of fuel switching in a steel industry heat treatment furnace was evaluated by effective integration with a multi-stage gasification system. The performance was evaluated in terms of gasifier system efficiency, furnace efficiency, and overall system efficiency with various heat integration options. The heat integration performance was identified based on pinch analysis. Finally, the efficiency of the co-production of bio-coke and bio-H2 was analyzed to increase the added value of the whole process.
It was found that 1) the steam gasification of pretreated biomass is more beneficial in terms of the energy value of the syngas, 2) diluting the gasifying agent and/or lowering the agent temperature compensates for the ash slagging problem in biocoal gasification, 3) the furnace efficiency can be improved by switching the fuel from natural gas (NG) to syngas, 4) the gasifier system efficiency can be improved by recovering the furnace flue gas heat for the pretreatment, and 5) the co-production of bio-coke and bio-H2 significantly improves the system efficiency.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 82 p.
Biomass, Pretreatment, Gasification, Pressure drop, Steel industry, Fuel switch, Energy efficiency