There are various attempts to industrialize the supercritical water gasification (SCWG) of wet biomass process, however, there are still process challenges to overcome. Such challenges include slurry pumpability, energy efficiency, low conversion, char and tar formation, and clogging problems due to salt precipitation. Fortunately, some of the aforementioned challenges can be eliminated by having long residence times, high heating rates and utilization of fluidized bed reactors. This study presents the first results and experiences obtained from the TU Delft/Gensos semi-pilot scale setup which has a capacity of 50 kg/h and incorporates a fluidized bed reactor. A dry starch concentration of 4.4 wt % was used as feedstock. Reactor temperatures of 500 °C, 550 °C and 600 °C, and the mass flow rates of 24.5 kg/h and 35 kg/h were tested. The results indicate that the heating profile in the heat exchanger and the residence time at higher temperatures (>500 °C) play a significant role in the conversion efficiencies. No clogging problem was observed, however small quantities of char (2.3 wt % at highest) and oil production (10.4 wt % at highest) were observed. The highest carbon gasification efficiency was 73.9% and this was obtained at a reactor temperature of 600 °C and at a feed flow rate of 24.5 kg/h.
- Fluidized bed
- Supercritical water