The design, evaluation and costing of biomass gasifiers
The objective of this study has been to enable a greater understanding of the biomass gasification process through the development and use of process and economic models. A new theoretical equilibrium model of gasification is described using the operating condition called the adiabatic carbon boundary. This represents an ideal gasifier working at the point where the carbon in the feedstock is completely gasified. The model can be used as a `target' against which the results of real gasifiers can be compared, but it does not simulate the results of real gasifiers. A second model has been developed which uses a stagewise approach in order to model fluid bed gasification, and its results have indicated that pyrolysis and the reactions of pyrolysis products play an important part in fluid bed gasifiers. Both models have been used in sensitivity analyses: the biomass moisture content and gasifying agent composition were found to have the largest effects on performance, whilst pressure and heat loss had lesser effects. Correlations have been produced to estimate the total installed capital cost of gasification systems and have been used in an economic model of gasification. This has been used in a sensitivity analysis to determine the factors which most affect the profitability of gasification. The most important influences on gasifier profitability have been found to be feedstock cost, product selling price and throughput. Given the economic conditions of late 1985, refuse gasification for the production of producer gas was found to be viable at throughputs of about 2.5 tonnes/h dry basis and above, in the metropolitan counties of the United Kingdom. At this throughput and above, the largest element of product gas cost is the feedstock cost, the cost element which is most variable.