Objectives and problems to be solved:
The objectives of the project are to develop and demonstrate the efficient production of hydrogen and electricity, from pyrolysis oil with the integration in stationary electric power and heat production plants in remote, out-of grid-situations (500 kWe) using Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFC). The development of the integrated fuel processor (consisting of a reforming catalyst, a reforming reactor, a syngas cleaning unit and a fuel cell) is the core issue of the project.
Description of the work:
The production of H2 and electricity from biomass is accomplished by reformation of bio-oil produced in fast pyrolysis processes, which are mature and of nearly commercial status. Processes for the reformation of pyrolysis oil to H2, and suitable for the production of electricity and heat (cogeneration) in small-to-medium size stationary applications, are optimised with respect to appropriate reactor configurations and efficient catalytic materials. A hydrogen rich process gas will be produced, also containing CO and CO2. The water-gas shift reaction transforms residual carbon monoxide into H2 and CO2. Optimal catalytic materials for these reactions will be developed, exhibiting high activity and selectivity towards H2 production and enhanced stability with time on stream, and they will be incorporated into proper reactor configurations. Each component of the process (fast pyrolysis of biomass, steam reforming of bio-oil, water-gas shift reaction, hydrogen-rich gas upgrading, fuel cell testing), will be considered separately, and integrated to a complete fuel processing system suitable for a prototype power production unit of 5kWe. An economic evaluation of the process is carried out for a 500 kWe commercial scale unit.
Expected Results and Exploitation Plans:
Upon completion of the project, sufficient knowledge is available to design and build an integrated fuel processing system, which converts biomass into hydrogen-rich feed gas for molten carbonate fuel cells. Such a fuel processor will be tested on a scale of 5 kWe, while the gas quality is demonstrated by application in laboratory fuel cells. Results of academic and applied research carried out by universities and the research institutes, is used by industrial partners to develop and commercialise the bio-oil electricity system. A sub-contractor is involved as a prime producer of bio-oil. (Estimated production price of € 150/ton).
Commercial breakthrough of bio-oil production technology is expected within the next decade. The complementary industrial partners in the project, including a MCFC developer and a catalyst manufacturer, provide together an excellent outlook on the implementation of the proposed technology for clean production of heat and electricity from bio-oil at remote, out-of-grid locations. It is the intention to protect any significant innovations by patents.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
RG4 9NH Reading
BT9 5AG Belfast