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Studies for removal of tar from producer gas in small scale biomass gasifiers using biodiesel

Madav, Vasudeva, Das, Darpan, Kumar, Manish, Surwade, Manoj, Parikh, P.P., Sethi, Virendra
Biomass and bioenergy 2019
Millettia pinnata, Pinus, biodiesel, biomass, cleaning, conifer needles, electricity generation, feeds, feedstocks, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, gasification, naphthalene, oleic acid, particulates, phenol, producer gas, rice hulls, scrubbers, solvents, temperature, toluene, wood, India
Biomass gasification based electricity generation systems are emerging as an important component of the decentralised energy supply systems in rural India. Each type of gasifier has different reaction conditions, temperature, residence time, pressure, feedstock, reactor design, and therefore the tar and particulate matter (PM) compositions and concentrations are found to vary. A field study was conducted on a 35 kWe downdraft gasifier to measure and characterize the tar in producer gas using GC-MS, for rice husk and pine needles as the two biomass feeds. Use of water-based scrubbers for removal of tar and PM is prevalent, however it is often the case that such clean-up is not adequate for meeting the engine manufacturers’ requirements for the quality of intake gas. Limited attempts have been reported for the use of organic solvent based gas cleaning in small scale downdraft gasifers in the range 10–50 kWe. In the present work, toluene, naphthalene and phenol were selected as representative compounds of tar, and methyl oleate was selected to represent biodiesel as an organic solvent. A bench scale packed bed scrubber was designed for 95% removal of toluene. An 86–97% removal of toluene from the gas stream was achieved, and similar results were obtained for phenol and naphthalene. Further experiments were carried out with actual producer gas from a 1 kWe downdraft wood gasifier. Pongamia pinnata based biodiesel was used as the solvent, and 88–92% of the tar removal from the producer gas stream was achievable.