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Green Power Initiative May 23, 2013 Department of Energy – Office of the Biomass Program P. Barry Butler, Ph.D. Executive Vice President and Provost Albert.

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Presentation on theme: "Green Power Initiative May 23, 2013 Department of Energy – Office of the Biomass Program P. Barry Butler, Ph.D. Executive Vice President and Provost Albert."— Presentation transcript:

1 Green Power Initiative May 23, 2013 Department of Energy – Office of the Biomass Program P. Barry Butler, Ph.D. Executive Vice President and Provost Albert Ratner, Ph.D. Associate Professor, College of Engineering Presented by Ferman Milster Principal Engineer – Renewables, Office of Sustainability This presentation does not contain any proprietary, confidential, or otherwise restricted information

2 Goal Statement & Project Overview Goal Demonstrate the viability and performance of an atmospheric downdraft gasifier for producing syngas from locally available agricultural materials and organic industrial byproducts. Focus on solid biomass fuels available in the local area. 2

3 Goal Statement & Project Overview Overview Install a locally designed and built gasifier to a new staged- combustion biomass boiler. Characterize syngas produced using biomass (e.g. seed, stover, grass, etc.) and organic industrial byproducts (e.g. lignin) not commonly employed as fuel. Provide opportunities for research, education, and application of agricultural and alternate fuel gasification technology. 3

4 4 Green Power Initiative Air permitting by Iowa DNR – issued 6.22.2010 Boiler/Gasifier Project Bid Opening: JAN 13, 2011 Significant project growth in scope due to complexity and code requirements Equipment $2,870,165 –DOE share : 32.1% –University of Iowa share: 67.9% Research $265,000 –DOE share : 35.8% –University of Iowa share: 64.2% Timeline Budget Project Development UI College of Engineering UI Facilities Management Ag Bio-Power Project Participants Project start date – Q3FY10 Project end date – Q1FY13 Percent complete – 100%

5 Click to edit the title text format Install a research gasifier coupled to a new biomass boiler to produce steam for a district energy system. –Unique coupling of facility utility asset (boiler) and research (gasifier) –Design, bid, build capital project for boiler and gasifier –Successful air permitting was a project prerequisite Successfully completed short course on gasification (Nov 2012) 5 1 - Approach

6 Click to edit the title text format Actively being used for undergraduate and graduate level research Disseminated research and testing results –Hosted numerous tours and information sessions for interested parties (e.g. other universities, companies, and utilities) –Presented research findings at several national meetings (e.g. ASME, Combustion Institute, Iowa Academy of Science) 6 1 – Approach (cont.)

7 Click to edit the title text format 7 Biomass Boiler 7 Gasification / Combustion Process Gasify biomass fuel in lower portion of furnace (gasification region) Ignition of generated fuel gas in upper region (combustion region) Steam produced in boiler delivered to district energy system for building heating and ventilation, as well as process loads. Gasification Region Combustion Region

8 Click to edit the title text format 8 Research GasifierBiomass Boiler Gasifier and Boiler System

9 Project Management 9 Challenging integration of research project with installation of replacement boiler design, bid, build project Many players – some key players did not have complex solid fuel boiler experience Complex capital project procedures not well understood by all parties – led to confusion of responsibilities In the future, would look to separate major capital project from research equipment installation.

10 Accomplishments and Results 10 Project construction, installation, testing, commissioning complete. All project tasks are complete. Gasifier began operations on June 2012. Current gasifier fuel is corn. –Demonstrating production scale, versus bench-top platform for biomass fuel testing, and steady state production of syngas for testing and study. –Syngas produced from corn in the research gasifier is burned in the biomass boiler.

11 Accomplishments and Results 11 State of the art small production size (3 MMBtu/hr.) atmospheric downdraft gasifier. One patent issued, one pending. Unique stratified, rotating bed design. Efficiency ____(later) Fuel – originally designed for seed corn. Large quantities available of off-spec and excess product. Intend to test and characterize wide variety of locally available industrial and agricultural biomass materials. Post-graduate student qualified and proficient in system start up, operation, and shutdown.

12 3. Relevance 12 Thermochemical conversion of solid biomass to useful biopower syngas provides more uses for the renewable energy source, compared to direct combustion. An abundance of agriculture biomass and organic industrial byproducts is available in the Midwest. There are more sources than can be effectively used by the growing cellulosic ethanol industry. This project provides the capability to demonstrate, study, and characterize steady-state production of syngas from locally available biomass sources. The gasifier is designed and developed by a local Iowa inventor (

13 4 - Critical Success Factors 13 Technical –Successful integration of research gasifier with production biomass boiler control and operating systems, using university capital project procurement procedures –Compliance with appropriate codes for operational district energy plant, versus bench top research

14 4 - Critical Success Factors (cont.) 14 Market –The technology is usable with readily available agricultural and organic industrial byproduct feedstocks, not used as traditional sources of renewable fuel. –More and more material will be available with growth of cellulosic plants coming on-line.

15 4 - Critical Success Factors (cont.) 15 Financial / Business –The project provides an operational demonstration facility showcasing reliable and lower-cost gasification technology. –The gasifier provides a technology that allows use of locally available materials for energy production, replacing out-of-state procurement of fossil fuels.

16 4 - Critical Success Factors (cont.) 16 Challenges –Biomass boiler has low operating hours, restricting use of gasifier. Facilities staff working to increase boiler operating hours. –Air permitting – each new fuel requires a permit modification. –Industrial byproducts must be classified by EPA as non- hazardous secondary material to consider as fuel –Tar in syngas requires sample pretreatment before analysis.

17 4 - Critical Success Factors (cont.) 17 Technology advancement and commercial viability –Production scale facility is available to characterize existing and new feedstock. –Production scale facility demonstrates viability of gasification for appropriate size industrial and commercial needs for renewable energy.

18 4 - Critical Success Factors (cont.) 18 The project is replicable where sufficient feedstocks are available to support steady-state operation. A use for the syngas produced also needs to be available. It would be ideally suited for industrial energy production and small-scale combined heat and power.

19 5. Future Work 19 Different fuels and fuel blends A different fuel sources will be tested, both individually and in blends, to characterize syngas generation. Need to study engineered fuels (e.g. blended, densified, etc.) Continue to disseminate knowledge Tours, academic journals, short courses and workshops, trade journals, and conference presentations.

20 Summary 20 Approach This project presented unique opportunity to couple research project with operating district energy system. It successfully demonstrated the challenges and successes of coupling the facilities management organization with teaching and research functions.

21 Summary (cont.) 21 Technical accomplishments The project is operational and initial testing and research successful. Relevance The project provides opportunity to showcase gasification technology capable of expanding biomass energy production using locally available feedstocks, including organic industrial byproducts.

22 Summary (cont.) 22 Critical Success factors and challenges Air permitting, capital project procedures, installation in an existing facility, code requirements, syngas tar Future Work New fuels, continue demonstrations and education efforts Technology transfer Solicit proposals from interested parties to characterize fuels Overall Impressions Outstanding opportunity to form unique facilities / academic partnership to advance renewable energy deployment

23 Publications, Presentations, and Commercialization 23 Presentation at the 123 rd and the 124 th Annual Meetings of the Iowa Academy of Science and at the 2012 meeting of the Central States Section of the Combustion Institute. Continuing presentation of the results as expected at the Joint US Sections Meeting of the Combustion Institute in May 2013. Muilenburg, M., Shi, Y., and Ratner, A., Computational Modeling of the Combustion and Gasification Zones in a Downdraft Gasifier, ASME Proceedings, Vol. 4, paper#IMECE2011-64009, pp. 151-158, 2011. Shi, Y., Gong, Z., Ratner, A., and Emadi, M., Gas Evolution of Biomass in Gasification and Pyrolysis, Central States Section Meeting of the Combustion Institute, paper 12S- 54, Dayton, OH, April 22-24, 2012. Gong, Z., Shi, Y., Ratner, A., and Emadi, M., Gas Evolution of Corn from Biomass Gasification, Central States Section Meeting of the Combustion Institute, paper 12S-53, Dayton, OH, April 22-24, 2012.

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