Power generation from biomass


Current processes of biomass utilisation are inferior to the known technologies of oil refining and petrochemistry in terms of profitability and efficiency, and which are characterised by large-sized equipment and high power consumption. Gasification and fast pyrolysis are the most promising technologies of biomass processing. Gasification is performed at elevated temperatures (800 to 1000 °С), yielding producer gas as the main product (yield to 80%), which is generally used to generate electricity. Fast pyrolysis is performed at lower temperature (ca 500 °C) to yield liquid biofuels (yield to 75%). Contrary to the producer gas, liquid biofuels can be transported and stored for long periods.

The calorific value of pyrolysis liquids is approx. 40% lower than that of the diesel fuel, because of high water content (to 30-40%) and oxygen involved in the organic component. Compared to the original biomass, pyrolysis liquid has a significant increase in the energy density on a volumetric basis (5 to 10 MJ/m3 for wood compared to 18-23 MJ/m3 for pyrolysis liquid).

There have been significant advances in the science, technology and application of pyrolysis liquids in recent years. In potential, pyrolysis liquids can serve a wide range of applications:

(1) As a fuel for co-generation of heat and electricity in turbines, internal combustion engines and boilers;
(2) As a transport fuel, after stabilisation and upgrading;
(3) As a source of special-purpose chemicals, after extraction.

The aim of the project is to create knowledge and technology know-how on (catalytic and non-catalytic) pyrolysis, upgrading of the bioliquids to fuels and subsequent electricity generation in engines and gas turbines.