Electricity production by biomass steam gasification using a high efficiency technology and low environmental impact

TitleElectricity production by biomass steam gasification using a high efficiency technology and low environmental impact
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMolino, Antonio, Giordano G., Motola V., Fiorenza G., Nanna F., and Braccio G.
KeywordsBiomass, Biomass Gasification, Carbon dioxide, Cogeneration plants, Commercial perspectives, Conversion efficiency, Decentralised, Developed model, Direct coupling, Effective solution, Efficiency, Efficient process, Electricity production, Environmental impact, Fuel cells, Gas compositions, Gasification, High efficiency technology, Industrial-scale applications, Light hydrocarbon, methane, Molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC), Overall conversion efficiency, Pilot plants, Plant simplification, power generation, Power production, Research centres, Steam gasification, Thermodynamic model

The integration of biomass gasification and fuel cell represents in theory an energy effective solution for decentralised CHP production. At the ENEA Research Centre of Trisaia the direct coupling of an existing biomass gasification pilot plant to a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) with a capacity of 125 kWe is in progress. Being pressurised at 3.5 bar, MCFC shall be combined to a gas turbine in order to establish an efficient process scheme for its industrial scale application. Assuming an optimised gas composition, free of methane and other light hydrocarbons, an overall conversion efficiency minor to 40% is estimated via an appositely developed model based on thermodynamic models. Even this value is one-third higher with respect to conventional gasification for decentralised CHP production, the commercial perspective of the proposed technology still proves to be modest, unless remarkable improvements in stack conversion efficiency, durability and cost are achieved, as well as an impressive plant simplification. The main goal of the paper is the integration of a biomass steam gasification plant with a molten carbonate fuel cell with the advantage of a power production plant with a low CO2emission compared with the traditional power generator fuelled by fossil. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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