Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Producing Renewable Natural Bio-Gas

Biomass can be converted into high quality renewable natural gas which can be used in the same ways as fossil natural gas. Such a process is being set in motion in Texas and in the Netherlands.
The Energy Research Center of the Netherlands has completed an 800 kilowatt-hour pilot-scale gasification plant based on its Milena gasifier technology, which uses an indirectly heated biomass gasification process with high cold-gas efficiency and a high methane yield, and is optimized for the production of substitute natural gas.

According to Christiaan van der Meijden, a researcher with the center’s Biomass, Coal & Environmental Research division, the primary feedstock for the pilot plant is waste wood. “We plan to test other biomass fuels, as well, [such as] sunflower husks,” he said. The green gas produced by the pilot-scale plant will be used to fuel one of several natural-gas-powered consumer automobiles currently available in Europe, he said.

The next step will be to begin construction of a 10-megawatt demonstration plant in 2009. “Several industrial parties are interested and involved in parts of the development,” van der Meijden said. “We have not licensed the Milena technology yet.” However, he added, the technology will become commercially available after the demonstration. _CheckBiotech
Biomass can be converted to liquid fuels by various means, to high density solid fuel by torrefaction, and to high quality synthetic natural gas as explained in the links above.

Given that the planet Earth's biosphere is hugely expandable, it would seem that beyond oil reserves, beyond coal reserves, beyond oil sands and shale oil reserves, beyond undersea methane hydrates, the Earth's capacity to produce high value fuels is very far from reaching its peak.

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