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Content archived on 2024-05-15

Biomass heatpipe reformer (BIOHPR)


Objectives and problems to be solved:
Producing electricity from biomass with gas turbines or fuel cells requires hydrogen rich fuel gases with reasonable high heating values. These heating values are only achievable by means of all thermal gasification or all thermal steam reforming. The BioHPR project aims at the development of an innovative all thermal gasifier concept the 'Biomass Heatpipe Reformer'. The innovative idea of the concept is to apply the heat for the endothermic gasification process to the reformer by means of high temperature heat pipes. The concept promises a particularly small all thermal gasifier that produces hydrogen rich gases for small-scale CHP applications with micro turbines and fuel cells. Key features of the new concept are its simple ness and a flexible heat-to-power ratio, which makes the concept competitive even without adequate heat consumer. Description of work: The project is aimed at the developing, constructing and testing of two 200 kW prototypes of the Heatpipe Reformer. The work will mainly focus on the solution of the main technical challenge for indirectly heated gasifiers - the realization of extremely high heat fluxes into a small sized gasification reactor. The application of heat pipes for this purpose will be tested and demonstrated. The excellent heat transfer characteristics of the heat pipes combined with high heat transfer rates between fluidized bed and heat pipe surface allow to design a very compact, highly integrated apparatus for steam gasification of any kind of biomass. Both prototypes will be tested with wood pellets, straw pellets and pellets produced from cotton stalk residues. Long-term experiments (72 hours) are planned to test the long-term stability of the heat pipes and to identify technical problems. Another important aim of the tests is reducing the reformer manufacturing costs especially the cost for heat-pipe manufacturing. The requirements of small scale gas turbines and fuel cells will be considered. A main emphasis will be put on the dissemination of the heat pipe reformer. Expected Results and Exploitation Plans: The project includes the basic engineering for a first demonstration plant located in the cotton producing area in Greece where a potential for 500 BioHPR plants exists even within a very small region. This area is the main cotton producing area in the EU. It suites perfectly to the needs for a first demonstration plant because a large quantity of cotton residues is available for energy production. The available biomass feedstock would suffice for a power plant with 100 MW thermal input. Unfortunately neither a centralized large power plant nor a decentralized CHP plant can be run economically due to high transportation cost and a lack of appropriate heat consumers. The Biomass Heat Pipe Reformer with its flexible heat-to-power-ratio is therefore an ideal solution to use the energy potential coming from these agricultural residues economically and ecologically.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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15,Boltzmannstrasse 15

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Participants (8)