Saturday, May 24, 2008

Biomass Gasification for Electricity, Liquid Fuels

Biomass gasification is the most versatile approach to bioenergy at this time. The gas produced by rapid pyrolysis can fire gas turbines to generate electricity, process heat for industry, or can be turned into liquid fuels for transportation and heavy machinery. Iowa's Frontline Bioenergy plans to use corncobs to replace natural gas, in the production of maize ethanol. Given natural gas prices lately, that substitution should certainly help the bottom line.
Chippewa Valley is owned by 980 farmers, so it's natural that the company wants to make its ethanol using a natural resource that is grown close to home.

"We're looking at harvesting 5,000 acres of cobs next fall" for use at the plant, Lee said.

The biomass gasification technology developed by Frontline BioEnergy uses a thermochemical process to break down wood residues, corncobs or prairie grasses into a substance known as producer gas.

Producer gas is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane that can be burned like natural gas.

Frontline provides a proprietary process called Cleangas that allows producer gas to be piped to several locations within an industrial facility without the typical hydrocarbon condensation concerns associated with conventional biomass gasification.

Besides providing a source of heat, Frontline BioEnergy's biomass gasifiers will be able to produce synthesis gas that can be converted to ethanol through catalytic or biological methods, the company said. __Source
The chemistry of pyrolysis gas was worked out a century ago or more. The work being done now is to adapt the process to different types of waste biomass feedstocks, such as corncobs, grasses, garbage, etc.

The main problem is the lack of developed infrastructure in farming country, to take low energy density, distributed biomass, and pre-process it into higher density, more compact biomass. Bailing, pelleting, briquetting, torrefaction, and other processes are being perfected to accommodate that need.

The US has never had as incompetent a US Congress as now. The Congress is doing everything possible to reduce the ability of the US to become more energy self sufficient. Oynklent Green [OTC:OYNK] officials are monitoring the situation closely.

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