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The gasification of woody biomass leads to a lean gas with a hydrogen content of 20 - 25%. Within the project the partners investigated the feasibility of usage of woodgas to generate electricity and heat by fuel cells. The main subjects of investigations were
-to evaluate the availability of woody biomass in Austria
-optimisation of gasification with respect to a clean and hydrogen rich gas mixture
-the experimental investigation of different gas clean-up processes
-to define the requirements of the different types of fuel cells with respect to gas purity
-and to perform overall plant simulations.

Experiments on gas purification were carried out with respect to
-catalytic tar removal
-the sponge iron process
-CO-shift conversion
-hydrogen separation by Palladium-membranes
-CO2-scrubbing with subsequent methanisation of CO and CO2

Several suitable combinations of gasification and purification processes with different fuel cells were defined. These overall processes were simulated with respect to mass and energy balances, the overall efficiency was calculated. These combinations were
-gasification of predryed wood with air in a fluidized bed reactor
-the sponge iron process and SOFC
-two chains for generation of pure hydrogen by catalytic tar removal, CO-shift and as last step either the Palladium membrane of scrubbing plus methanisation.

As result, an overall electrical efficiency of the conversion of biomass to fuel for fuel cells of about 25 % was calculated. An exception is the simplest process, the combination of a gasifier with dust and tar removal and with the high temperature fuel cell SOFC. Thus, if hot gas clean up for removal of dust and tar is feasible, the combination with high temperature fuel cells (SOFC or MCFC) is an attractive process.

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