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December 1996 Gasification Archive

From apchick at Fri Dec 6 09:46:03 1996
From: apchick at (apchick)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: Gas Clean Up...
In-Reply-To: <961101013240_73002.1213_FHM62-12@CompuServe.COM>
Message-ID: <>

It's a very old question, but could someone please recommend me the titles of
the best available papers on gas clean up from a gasification (down-draught)

Or, the names of any company that supplies a complete system?

Hybrid Energy Systems
De Montfort University
Caythorpe Court
NG32 9EP

Tel: 01400 275624
Fax: 01400 273708


From zach at Thu Dec 19 21:55:28 1996
From: zach at (Zach Nobel)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: test message. Is all working well on the new list server?
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.95.961219215239.656h-100000@solstice>




Zachariah Nobel, Assistant Manager for Internet Services
Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST)



From antonio.hilst at Mon Dec 23 05:40:54 1996
From: antonio.hilst at (Antonio Hilst)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: Electrally heated gasifier
Message-ID: <>

Dear Tom:

I don't recall of answering your question on the eletrically heated gasifier
Brazilian Project. As we in Brasil say the"cow (the project) went to the swamp".
Lack of funding and political changes of government priorities killed it. It
wasn't very economical anyway, but I see some very promising applications
for the basic idea.

I've learned a lot with you and all the people on the list. But sometimes
I'm surprised with such comments as that one on earth diameter. The Greeks,
600 years BC, had measured it. It is true that by history tortile routes the
Occidental Civilization lost it.

MERRY CHRYSTMAS, have a good Holliday season.






From 73002.1213 at CompuServe.COM Thu Dec 26 14:43:50 1996
From: 73002.1213 at CompuServe.COM (Thomas Reed)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: Re: Methanol vs ethanol
Message-ID: <961226191729_73002.1213_FHM51-4@CompuServe.COM>

Dear Harry and All:

Harry asked if anyone had successfully operated an oxygen biomass gasifier
making synthesis gas. I know of three successful (but not commerdial)

1) At SERI (now NREL) we operated a 1 ton/day gasifier regularly on oxygen and
for a short time (lock hopper problems) at 10 atmospheres. M. Graboski then
scaled this up to 1 ton/hr and took data on oxygen operation for 6 months. (See
our fat book, Fundamentals and scaleup....)

2) The IGT gasifier has certainly operated on oxygen at high pressure, but how
long would take a while to find out.

3) The Canadian Biosyn gasifier (10 tons/hr, 16 bar) was built to gasify forest
wastes with oxygen and operated (over 1600 hr) from 1984-1986. How much of this
was oxygen and pressure operation, I will find out when I see E. Chornet this
week. (See below).

Does anyone know of other efforts?

I am having to review all this data for our forthcoming "Survey of Biomass
Gasification". When anyone gets serious about making methanol from forest and
ag residues again, see me. I still think it is practical and could be close to
competing with petroleum at farm co-ops and cooperating with the farmers to
produce added values from the residues they often destroy.

Persevere, TOM REED
Subject: Biosyn genealogy
content-length: 6384


I have pasted the write-up I have prepared to explain the Biosyn story.
I hope it is useful and enjoyable.


The BIOSYN genealogy

In the early 1970's CIL, a wholly owned canadian subsidiary of ICI, initiates an

environmental program to develop versatile fluid bed technology to convert its
industrial wastes into useful syngas for either synthesis or energy. A pilot
plant is erected in Kingston, Ont. The project is known as OMNIFUEL. Three
engineers are in charge: John Black, Keith Bircher and John Chisholm.

CIL restructures and discontinues its project. The three engineers form their
own company, bbc engineering, and install a demonstration gasifier (10 tonnes/h)

coupled to a boiler at the Levesque sawmill in Hearts, Ont. The demonstration
lasts for three years. It is a technical success yet the economics do not favor

In the late 1970's Canertech, the canadian federal company created to promote
alternate energy sources, and Nouveler, a HydroQuebec subsidiary in charge of
novel energy alternative, form a joint venture, Biosyn Inc., whose mission is to

demonstrate the gasification of biomass residues and the conversion of the
syngas to methanol. The project is structured in 1980 with a capital of 22 MM$
Can. Phase I of the project is to design, build and operate the gasification
section of the plant. SNC, a major Montreal-based engineering firm, and bbc
engineering are retained to design and erect the demonstration plant to treat 10

tonnes/h of forest residues. The gasifier is to be pressurized (16 bar). The
plant is constructed at St. Juste de la Bretenniere, Que., in the period 1981 -
Biosyn Inc., becomes the operator with a staff of 16 persons. A technical
advisory committee is formed to lead the technical aspects of the project. R.P.
Overend, M. Bergougnou, J. Grace, A. Chamberland and E. Chornet are the members
of the committee whereas J. Black acts as consultant. A strong research effort
is carried out in parallel at IREQ, the research arm of HydroQuebec. The
demonstration proceeds between 1984 and 1986. Over 1600 h of operation were
accummulated under various gasification regimes and feedstocks. Coupling the
gasifier to a 750 KVA Alsthom diesel generator was achieved for a period of over

600 h. At the corporate level, Canertech was dissolved in 1984, due to a change
of government, and Nouveler became the only shareholder of Biosyn Inc.

In the mid-1980's a joint venture between Nouveler and SNC was formed, Biodev
Inc., to commercialize the Biosyn technology. Biodev Inc., led by G. Drouin
obtained a licence to the Biosyn know-how and secured a demonstration project in

French Guyane. The project was financed by Electricite de France and was
supposed to produce 7.5 MW of electricity. The plant was constructed and briefly

operated but costs overruns and higher-than-expected operating costs made the
economics difficult. The project was abandonned in the late 1980's. Biodev was
also dismantled and G. Drouin formed an independent company, Biothermica Ltd.,
to pursue the commercialization effort of both the gasifier and of hot gas
cleaning technology. The licence obtained by Biodev was transferred to
Biothermica, who still holds the licence today.

The Biosyn demonstration at St. Juste was satisfactorily completed in 1987. The
information obtained allowed a thorough assessment of costs. It became clear
that the return of energy prices to the pre-1973 level would make impossible a
methanol plant from biomass-derived syngas. HydroQuebec, who disposed of a
production capacity of 30,000 MW mainly very low cost hydroelecttricity, did not

see any advantage to produce electricity by coupling the gasifier to a gas
turbine, an obvious technical choice. In 1988, HydroQuebec decided to
discontinue Biosyn Inc. The assets were sold to a sawmill company, BECESCO, in
1989. The St. Juste facility is operated since as a typical sawmill with the
gasifier still erected as a "monument to technology".

The intellectual property generated by Biosyn Inc. was transferred in 1989, by
Nouveler, to the Centre Quebecois de Valorisation de la Biomasse (CQVB), a
provincial corporation. The CQVB, under the leadership of M. Risi saw an
opportunity to pursue gasification activities in the environmental area. Forest
and agricultural residues, as well as MSW or RDF, and even industrial wastes,
constitute low-cost feedstocks that are available worldwide in often small and
localized sites. The CQVB launched a program to direct the technology towards
small-scale environmentally-driven projects. It requested the participation of
Sherbrooke University to proof that such an approach was technically,
environmentally and economically sound. A research program thus started in 1990
at Sherbrooke University. It was led by E. Chornet . The program centered on the

50 kg/h gasifier that IREQ had build to carry out the research on behalf of
Biosyn. The gasifier was transferred to Sherbrooke and a PDU facility build
around the gasifier.

Since 1990, and with the support of federal and provincial agencies as well as
private groups, Sherbrooke University is conducting a vigorous research program
focussing on background research in support of the "small-scale gasification
concept" identified as the market niche. In 1993, a spin-off company of
Sherbrooke University, Kemestrie Inc., was formed to advance the
commercialization of the biomass processes and products developed by the
university researchers headed by E. Chornet. In 1995, a 100 kg/h unit aimed at
recycling of aluminum from post-consumer packaging, was installed at a
metallurgical plant in Que., Canada.

In 1996 an agreement was reached between Kemestrie Inc., led by P. Laborde and
Biothermica Ltd., led by G. Drouin, to work together towards the
commercialization of the Biosyn Technology which, besides the intellectual
property generated in the 1990's, comprises the know-how and patents related to
hot gas cleaning developed both by Kemestrie and Biothermica during the 1990's.
The energy and environmental division of Kemestrie Inc., led by N. Abatzoglou,
aims at the small capacity market ( < 5 tonnes/h ) whereas Biothermica centers
its efforts in the larger capacity energy conversion market.




From MIHWP at Fri Dec 27 06:38:56 1996
From: MIHWP at (Harry W. Parker)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: Re: Methanol vs ethanol
In-Reply-To: <961226191729_73002.1213_FHM51-4@CompuServe.COM>
Message-ID: <>

The details on high-pressure oxygen-fired biomass gasifiers were most

Esteban's details on the Biosyn process was particularly interesting.
>From my perspective his story effectively illustrated the vast economic
advantages of large-scale operations, which are not available to biomass
gasifiers, relative to coal gasifiers and/or natural gas reformers. I
and my fellow professors at Tech went through a similar cycle on
gasifying feedlot waste (manure) to produce ammonia for fertilizer, for
the grain sorghum, used for cattle rations to produce the manure. Beef
was also a "coproduct" of this process.

For the above reason I will repeat my suggestion of just burning biomass
for boiler fuel and using the displaced coal or natural gas for
manufacture of synthesis gas. This minimizes the "economies of scale"
problem, since biomass boilers are less expensive than whole syngas
plants, per unit of biomass utilized.


Harry W. Parker, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor of Chemical Engineering and
Consulting Chemical Engineer
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3121

Thomas Reed wrote:
> Dear Harry and All:
> Harry asked if anyone had successfully operated an oxygen biomass gasifier
> making synthesis gas. I know of three successful (but not commerdial)
> instances:
very big snip


From 73002.1213 at CompuServe.COM Tue Dec 31 08:35:33 1996
From: 73002.1213 at CompuServe.COM (Thomas Reed)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: Re: HTW Syn-Gas Gasifier
Message-ID: <961231133157_73002.1213_FHM52-2@CompuServe.COM>


After writing about the three synthesis gas gasifiers that I knew about, I got
the following message from Yrjo in Finland.

"Message text written by Yrjo Solantausta
>Dear Tom,

In your earlier posting you listed three gasifiers as near commercial for
the production of syngas from biomass. I hope you do not forget the HTW, as
it has been demonstrated with peat in the scale of 25 t/h. A mixture of
sawdust and peat (as I recall it, 30/70) was also employed, so Kemira was
getting relatively close making bio-syngas. And in any case, if you can do
it with peat, you most likely can use also wood chips.

Would you agree? Regards Yrjo
Yes - I would agree, and I hope Yrjo will send me a good reference to the HTW
gasifier, starting with what does HTW mean. I will be sure to include it in our

I also agree that wood chips would be easier to gasify than peat, and 30/70
sawdust/peat might be optimal between biomass-high volatile feedstocks and
peat-high carbon feedstock.

Commens? Where are all you 60 guys (sorry, humans) listed as members of
gasification. I would like to have a short note on each of your interests and a
comment on what you would like to see more of here in GASIFICATION. STOVES
(with about 30 members) is ten times as active as GASIFICATION.

Have a great New Year and new year, TOM REED



From faay at Tue Dec 31 09:28:26 1996
From: faay at (Andre Faaij)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: costs of pelletising
Message-ID: <>


A short informative question:

Does anyone have cost data (per tonne and in relation to the
capacity of the pelletising facility) on pelletising more 'fluffy'
biomass such as Miscanthus or other grass like material?

Thanks in advance as well as a great 1997!

Andre Faaij

Dept. of Science Technology and Society, Utrecht University
Padualaan 14, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands
tel. 31-30-2537643/00
fax. 31-30-2537601



From 73002.1213 at CompuServe.COM Tue Dec 31 09:30:05 1996
From: 73002.1213 at CompuServe.COM (Thomas Reed)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Message-ID: <961231142623_73002.1213_FHM55-4@CompuServe.COM>

Dear Morten Gronli (and GASIFICATION):

I read 2/3 of your 300 page thesis (A Theoretical and Experimental Study of the
Thermal Degradation of Biomass) last night and put in Post-Its for various
comments to talk to you about. It now looks like a porcupine. How did we ever
survive without POST-ITS?

1. Maybe you are so exhausted by having written such a magnum opus that you
never want to hear about pyroysis and gasification again. I could accept that.
What is your current state and what will you be continuing with?

2: Your thesis is handsomer than many books; with its excellent graphics, good
summaries and color pictures. I highly recommend it as the best statement of
the "state of the art" in this field. I hope our "Survey of Biomass
Gasification" will compliment it and we will quote it extensively. Please pass
my comments on to your professors and congratulate them too.

3. How many copies did you print. If others in the GASIFICATION network write
could they get a copy? If you ever wind up with a few extra boxes, I would be
happy to take them under the wing of the Biomass Energy Foundation Press and
list it for sale. I'll pay freight.

4. I will refrain from discussing specific issues until I discover whether you
are still interested.

5. I commend you on your TG/DTG work, going right to the heart of pyrolysis of
cellulose, hemicellulose and wood. Anyone who hasn't examined and thought about
these curves in detail hasn't joined the party yet.

Did you know that we published an "Atlas of Thermal Data for Biomass and Other
FUels", (NREL/TP-433-7965, Gaur and Reed, 1995). I'm surprised you hadn't heard
about it, since Antal and Verhyagi were both instrumental in sugesting our
measuring protocol for over 100 specimens of various kinds of biomass and other
fuels. All tests were run at 10C/min unless otherwise specified, so it is easy
to compare the thermal behavior of straw with seaweed for instance.

You might be able to get a copy from Sally Evans, documents at NREL, if there are any left. It may issue as a hardcover from
... press if Gaur finishes making requrested additions.

4. For our work we used a SEIKO thermal balance which we think may be the best
for accurate work. But our results agree generally with yours.

5. I will hold detailed comments and questions until I find out whether you are
interested in a continuing dialogue.

Unrelated, but Norwegian question:

I have come across a Paul Wendelbro, a Norwegian, who has developed a gasifier
cookstove very similar to the one I developed with Ron Larson. I've been trying
to track him down without success. Ever heard of him?

I hope 1997 is a wonderful year for you, TOM REED



From tmiles at Tue Dec 31 11:37:14 1996
From: tmiles at (Tom Miles)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: GAS-L: Re: HTW Syn-Gas Gasifier
Message-ID: <>

YS>Would you agree? Regards Yrjo
TR>Yes - I would agree, and I hope Yrjo will send me a good reference to
the HTW
TR>gasifier, starting with what does HTW mean. I will be sure to include
it in our

High Temperature Winkler. The Kemira plant should be well documented in IEA
literature. Esa Kurkela at VTT is probably the best source for that project.

Tom Miles, Jr.
Tom Miles, Jr. Thomas R. Miles, Consulting Design Engineer 5475 SW Arrowwood Lane
Tel (503) 591-1947 Fax (503) 292-2919 Portland, Oregon, USA 97225-1353


From rcbrown at Tue Dec 31 13:04:57 1996
From: rcbrown at (Robert C. Brown)
Date: Tue Aug 31 21:07:15 2004
Subject: No Subject
Message-ID: <>

Tom Reed: In response to your inquiry about interests of those on the
gasification list:

I am interested in gasification at scales appropriate to niche markets,
which precludes pressurized gasification. I am interested in
indirectly-heated gasifiers and catalytic gasification. My own focus is on
fluidized gasifiers. Problems I would like to see addressed include feeding
biomass materials (especially herbaceous materials) into gasifiers,
techniques for reducing tar and particulate emissions from the reactor, and
issues of integration of gasifiers with "prime movers" at scales appropriate
to niche markets. I could also benefit from advice on reliable gas sampling
and analysis.

Robert Brown


Robert C. Brown
Iowa State University
Department of Mechanical Engineering
2020 H. M. Black Bldg.
Ames, IA 50011
Tel: 515-294-8733
Fax: 515-294-3261