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Rapid High Temperature Solar Thermal Biomass Gasification in a Prototype Cavity Reactor

[+] Author Affiliations
Paul Lichty, Christopher Perkins, Bryan Woodruff, Alan Weimer

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Carl Bingham

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Paper No. ES2009-90338, pp. 465-478; 14 pages
  • ASME 2009 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the Heat Transfer and InterPACK09 Conferences
  • ASME 2009 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Volume 2
  • San Francisco, California, USA, July 19–23, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4890-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3851-8
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


High temperature biomass gasification has been performed in a prototype concentrated solar reactor. Gasification of biomass at high temperatures has many advantages compared to historical methods of producing fuels. Enhancements in overall conversion, product composition ratios, and tar reduction are achievable at temperatures greater than 1000°C. Furthermore, the utilization of concentrated solar energy to drive these reactions eliminates the need to consume a portion of the product stream for heating and some of the solar energy is stored as chemical energy in the product stream. Experiments to determine the effects of temperature, gas flow rate, and feed type were conducted at the High Flux Solar Furnace (HFSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These experiments were conducted in a reflective cavity multi-tube prototype reactor. Biomass type was found to be the only significant factor within a 95% confidence interval. Biomass conversion as high as 68% was achieved on sun. Construction and design considerations of the prototype reactor are discussed as well as initial performance results.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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