Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 23  2011 August p.  1060-1068
Air gasification of palm biomass for producing tar-free higher heating value producer gas

Author(s): ZULKIFLI Ab Rahman * ; MENON, N. Ravi * ; KU HALIM Ku Hamid **

The use of palm bio­mass for energy gen­er­a­tion has been gain­ing momen­tum in recent times on a global level. A tar-free pro­ducer gas can be obtained in a prop­erly designed bio­mass gasi­fi­ca­tion process. In the cur­rent study, a tar-free palm bio­mass gasi­fi­ca­tion sys­tem by high-temperature air is pro­posed. This con­cept was demon­strated on a pilot scale fixed bed using empty fruit bunches (EFB) under autother­mic con­di­tions. The pre-treated EFB were ini­tially pyrol­ysed, and the result­ing char was par­tially gasi­fied in the gasi­fi­ca­tion zone (oxi­da­tion zone) fol­lowed by com­bus­tion of the char residue at the reduc­tion zone (bot­tom of gasi­fier) in an oxi­da­tion atmos­phere. As the qual­ity of the pro­ducer gas was found to be depen­dent on the smooth flow of the fuel and the uni­for­mity of the pyrol­y­sis, the dif­fi­cul­ties encoun­tered dur­ing the exper­i­ments are also dis­cussed. The opti­mum oper­a­tion of the gasi­fier ranged between 1.71 and 2.34 Nm3 kg–1 of air-fuel ratios at val­ues of 28.2 and 37.0 kg hr–1 of 15% mois­ture feed rate, which gives a pro­ducer gas with a good heat­ing value of about 5.18 MJ Nm–3 at a vol­u­met­ric flow of 92.47–101.78 Nm3 hr–1 pro­ducer gas. It was con­cluded that the pre-treated empty fruit bunches are easy to gasify in a down­draft gasi­fier to pro­duce good qual­ity gas for process heat­ing and power gen­er­a­tion with min­i­mum pol­lut­ing by-products.

Keywords: , , ,

Author Information
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, P. O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
E-mail: zar@mpob.gov.my

** Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.


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