Californian Andes Class Gasifier
making these development reports available to all those with an
interest in producer gas (not syngas), not all details are shown or
explained. The various teams working on this project, are researching
as well as developing the supporting, but hardly mentioned non existent
infrastructure technologies that support a gasification process.
The Andes Class (100kWe) gasifier project that began collectively in Chile and California in 2008, continues the original development programme begun in N.Ireland in 2005. (see MDF Gasification) This is a development programme for the ancillary equipment required after the gas making process. While it might be thought that off the shelf technologies can be purchased to order, it must first be established as to what criterion all specifications apply. It might be considered a simple task if the variables were the same for all operating locations, but environmental conditions remain the most challenging aspect of gasification equipment design.
There are also certain conditions associated with producer gas cleaning, that need greater understanding in the cooling, condensing, and filtration for commercial applications.
When understanding can be confidently be applied to design, more compact package plants of smaller footprint can be eventually offered. With a minimum of ancillary equipment needed to clean the tar free gas, the never ending battle to reduce manufacturing costs improves considerably.
Having been able to conduct numerous trial from a stable gas making process can bring conclusion to many unanswered questions, but for me to see dry producer gas burning for the first time, was a reward. Dry gas is clean gas, and clean producer gas can be used for almost any energy application. In this application at CalForests, eight of these systems will be used incrementally via compressed gas lines to heat the forest tree growing nursery.
The next testing phase of this project will be in July 2009, and a further update will be available.
Andes Class Gasifier set up to conduct testing on soot formations. Pacific Class gasifier stands to right in the background. August 2008
|Unfiltered gas test flare during soot formation testing August 2008.|
|Set up for automated refueling, the test platform for the gas making in now modified to include gas cooling/condenser, and hot gas filter assemblies, December 2008.|
|With fuel elevator now in place, and all ancillaries connected, the entire system was put to work for the first time for load testing through the engine generator. The very variable weather conditions required a makeshift insulation wrapper to the hot bag filter assembly.|
|Always considered important, is the colour of the oxidation zone. Under pressure, a seal leak caused black watery pyrolysis condensate to drip, making the mess.|
|Seen for the very first time during these flare tests, the gas free of almost all condensate displays a feathery edge to the flame. The importance of this was demonstrated by the engine electrical output, which increased from 28-37kWe on the drier gas.|
|This is the condensate that has settled over night before draining. It is black when first collected but contains sub-micron carbon blacks with a graphite lattice type structure.|
|Freshly drained black condensate showed a pH of 6.92, indicating that ash particles are removed before condensation. Ash dissolved in the condensate usually creates a condensate of about pH 8.|
|For this development programme, the fuel drier/fuel bunker has to be located in less than an ideal position, and the elevator much longer than normally required.|
|The Laimet HP25 screw auger chipper is now mounted with it's own engine via gearbox drive.|
|Shown in action, 20' x 10" logs which are waste tops, chip in 12 seconds.|
|The final chip cut at 5-600 rpm resulted in less shattering and fines. Previous trials in August 2008, were run at 1,000 rpm.|