Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 10

Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Applied Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apenergy

A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed

biomass and coal in an entrained-ow reactor
Wei-Hsin Chen a,, Chih-Jung Chen b, Chen-I Hung b, Cheng-Hsien Shen c, Heng-Wen Hsu c
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan, ROC
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan, ROC
Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Hsinchu 310, Taiwan, ROC

h i g h l i g h t s

" Gasication phenomena of raw bamboo, torreed bamboo, and coal are studied.
" The carbon conversions of the three fuels are higher than 90%.
" The coal gas efciency is sensitive to the type of fuel.
" The gasication performance of torreed bamboo is enhanced and closer to that of coal.
" With optimum operation, syngas formation from torreed biomass is amplied by 88%.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Gasication of torreed biomass is a promising technique for producing synthesis gas (syngas) of higher
Received 14 September 2012 quality than has previously been available. In this study, in order to evaluate the potential of the tech-
Received in revised form 21 December 2012 nique, gasication processes for three different materials, which include raw bamboo, torreed bamboo
Accepted 10 January 2013
(at 280 C for 1 h), and high-volatile bituminous coal in an entrained-ow gasier using O2 as the gasi-
Available online xxxx
cation agent, are studied numerically and compared to each other. The obtained results suggest that in all
cases, the carbon conversions of the three fuels are higher than 90%. However, the cold gasication ef-
ciency for raw bamboo is low, mainly due to the relatively lower caloric value of the material. In the case
Torrefaction and gasication
Entrained-ow gasier
of the torreed bamboo fuel, the gasication performance is enhanced signicantly and is quite similar to
Carbon conversion the coal gasication under the same conditions. It appears that the optimum oxygen-to-fuel mass ow
Coal gas efciency ratios for the gasication of raw bamboo, torreed bamboo, and coal are 0.9, 0.7, and 0.7, and their equiv-
Numerical simulation alence ratios are 0.692, 0.434, and 0.357, respectively. Under optimum conditions with respect to the
Clean coal technology equivalence ratio, the cold gas efciency of torreed bamboo is improved by 88%, as compared to raw
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction as an essential energy resource, development of a method by

which to utilize it in a cleaner way has become an important task.
Fossil fuels are currently crucial sources of primary energy. It Over the years, the development of clean coal technology (CCT) has
has been reported that the reserves of oil and natural gas could last drawn much attention [2]. Gasication plays a key role in carrying
another 4060 years [1]. In contrast, the coal reserve is reported to out CCT where coals are converted into syngas (i.e. CO + H2), the
be available for over another 100 years, and its price is relatively main component in the product gas, in an insufcient oxygen envi-
lower than that of oil and natural gas. Therefore, there is a trend ronment [3,4].
toward the consumption of more coal instead of using oil as an en- In fact, not only coal but also other materials, such as biomass,
ergy source. Over the past several decades, however, burning coal slurry, and petroleum coke, can be employed as feedstocks in gas-
has caused numerous serious air pollution problems; it has also ication [57]. Biomass is an important source of renewable en-
emitted a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide, especially from ergy in the world. For instance, according to statistics from the
coal-red power plants. For these reasons, while coal is consumed International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2011, around 10% of the pri-
mary energy demand worldwide came from biomass. Biomass
can be converted into gas products alone by gasication [8]; it
Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +886 7 3740611. can also be gasied with coal through co-gasication [9,10]. Raw
E-mail address: weihsinchen@gmail.com (W.-H. Chen). biomass is generally characterized by high moisture content and

0306-2619/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
2 W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx


A pre-exponential factor or area (m2) V velocity (m s1) or mass fraction of volatiles

Ap surface area of particle (m2) v velocity (m s1)
Ap,c cross-sectional area on the particle normal to the direc- vr stoichiometric coefcient of reaction r or relative
tion of the ow (m2) velocity (m s1)
B temperature exponent w reaction rate (kg m3 s1)
C molecular concentration (kmol m3) or turbulence con- x coordinate (m)
stant Y stoichiometric coefcient or species
cp specic heat (J kg K1) y mass fraction
D diffusion coefcient (m2 s1) z axial coordinate (m)
Ea activation energy (J kmol1)
FD drag force (kg m1 s2) Greek letters
Gk generation of turbulence kinetic energy a molecular fraction
DH0 heat of reaction (at 298 K and 1 atm) b effectiveness factor
Keq equilibrium reaction rate e turbulence dissipation rate (m2 s3)
k reaction rate constant or turbulence kinetic energy k thermal conductivity (W mK1)
(m2 s2) l viscosity (kg ms1)
M molecular weight (kg mol1) q density (kg m3)
m mass (kg) sij symmetric stress tensor (kg m1 s2)
N reaction apparent order g rate exponent for species
Pr Prandtl number
pn partial bulk pressure of the gas phase species (Pa) Subscript
p pressure (Pa) d drag
r radial coordinate (m) or species reaction rate per unit f forward
area (kg m2 s1) h high temperature or energy
R universal gas constant (J kmol K1) i species i or spatial coordinate
R species consumption rate at particle surface (kg s1) j momentum or spatial coordinate or species j
S source term l low temperature
Sc Schmidt number p fuel particle
Sr summation of species reaction rates (kg m2 s1) r reaction or relative velocity
T temperature (K) t turbulence
TP fuel particle temperature (K) k kinetic energy
T out outlet mean temperature (K) l viscosity
t time (s) e dissipation
u gas velocity component (m s1)

low energy density as compared to those of coals. Typically, the thermodynamic loss, it has been seen as a promising method by
higher heating value of coal is in the range of 2535 MJ kg1 which to achieve more efcient gasication of wood. Deng et al.
[11], whereas it is between 15 and 20 MJ kg1 for raw biomass [23] focused on the torrefaction of rice straw and rape stalk and
[12]. This restricts the applications of raw biomass in industry. found that the heating values of torreed rice straw and rape stalk
To use biomass more efciently, a variety of pretreatment could be increased up to 17% and 15%, respectively. They also came
methods for improving biomass have been developed. Torrefaction up with a conceptual system by combining coal gasication and
is one of the most noteworthy routes. It is a thermal pretreatment biomass torrefaction. Couhert et al. [24] investigated the impact
process where raw biomass is heated in an oxygen-free environ- of torrefaction on the production of syngas from wood gasication
ment at temperatures of 200300 C [1316] in order to perform in an entrained-ow reactor. They addressed the fact that chars
thermal degradation while avoiding oxidation of the biomass. from torreed wood were less than those from wood, and the
The moisture contained in the biomass is reduced, and the compo- quantity of produced syngas increased with the severity of
nents of low-molecule volatiles are released as a result of torrefac- torrefaction. Strege et al. [25] used blends of subbituminous coal,
tion. As a consequence, the properties of the biomass are improved torreed biomass, and untreated biomass to study their gasica-
to a great extent. The advantages of torrefaction of biomass include tion phenomena in a bench-scale oxygen-blown uid-bed gasier
intensifying caloric value and energy density [17,18], reducing O/ that was coupled to a modular xed-bed FischerTropsch reactor.
C and H/C ratios [19], producing hygroscopic materials, and mak- Their results indicated that the bed temperature diverged rapidly
ing the grindability and storage of biomass easier [20]. Moreover, and material agglomeration occurred in the bed when a blend of
the properties of torreed biomass become more uniform com- coal and torreed biomass was replaced by a blend of coal and
pared to those of raw biomass [21]. raw biomass; therefore, using torreed biomass as the feedstock
On account of property improvement of biomass from torrefac- of gasication was found to be conducive to minimizing the
tion, this pretreatment method is conducive to the performance of formation of agglomerates.
gasication if torreed biomass rather than raw biomass is used as In examining the literature published recently on this topic, a
feedstock. In the study of Prins et al. [22], it was pointed out that number of studies of biomass torrefaction have been implemented,
the gasication temperature of raw wood was lower than that of and much valuable information has been reported. However, very
torreed wood due to the high O/C ratio and high moisture content few papers have highlighted the gasication of torreed biomass,
in the former. As a result, wood was generally over-oxidized in a and there still remains a lot of knowledge that is not available
gasier, which led to thermodynamic loss. Because torrefaction in sufcient detail. Therefore, the objective of this study is to
can decrease moisture and O/C ratios and thereby reduced investigate the reaction behavior of torreed biomass. Particular

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx 3

emphasis is placed on the comparison of gasication characteris- drags coupled to mass, energy, and momentum transport from the
tics among coal, raw biomass and torreed biomass. particles into the uid. A discrete-phase-model (DPM) is employed
to track the trajectories of fuel particles through the continuous
2. Numerical method phase of uid. In the model, the velocity change of a particle is
written as
2.1. Geometry of reactor
mp dV P =dt F d 1
Fuel gasication in an entrained-ow gasier is explored in the
where VP is the particle velocity, and Fd is the drag force of the uid
present study, and the geometry of the gasier is sketched in
on the particle. The drag force Fd is expressed as
Fig. 1a. The gasier was a cylindrical, dry feed, and pressurized en-
trained-ow reactor [7], and its height and diameter were 5151.2 qAp;c C D v 2r
and 270.3 mm, respectively. The reactants and carrier gas were FD 2
blown into the gasier from the top of the reactor. Fuel and carrier
gas were sent into the gasier from the center inlet, whereas oxy- where q, AP,c, and vr are the density of the surrounding uid, the
gen was transported from the concentric ring inlet. The distance cross-sectional area on the particle normal to the direction of the
from the oxygen inlet to the gasier centerline was 45 mm. The ow, and the relative velocity between the particle and the uid,
diameter of the center inlet and the width of the concentric ring in- respectively. CD is the drag coefcient, and it is a function of the par-
let were 20 and 5 mm, respectively. ticle Reynolds number [26].
Several heat and mass processes of fuel particles take place in
2.2. Assumptions and governing equations the gasication reactions, so they are considered in the source
terms of the governing equations. To begin with, the moisture in
Fuel reactions in a gasier are related to uid dynamics, heat and the fuel particles is evaporated; then, the particles undergo devol-
mass transfers, and chemical reactions. To make the physical prob- atilization processes; furthermore, the particles are converted into
lems involved in these processes more tractable, some hypotheses volatiles, chars, and ash; nally, the volatiles and chars are con-
are adopted. (1) A steady, axisymmetric, incompressible, and sumed to produce gases [27]. The consumption rate of species i
turbulent ow eld is adopted. (2) Thermal radiation and the body at the particle surface (Ri ) is presented by
force of the ow in the gasier are ignored. (3) The formation of
Ri Ap byi r i 3
air pollutants from gasication, such as NH3, HCN, H2S, CS2, and
COS, are disregarded. (4) The wall of the gasier is adiabatic. 
0 r i N
Accordingly, a two-dimensional and steady ow with turbulence ri ki pn  4
and chemical reactions is studied numerically, and the steady-state
time-averaged NavierStokes, energy, and species equations are In the preceding two equations, Ap is the surface area of the particle;
solved. The standard ke turbulence model is also adopted. The b is the effectiveness factor; yi is the mass fraction; r is the per unit
aforementioned governing equations and the constants used in the area species reaction rate; ki is the reaction rate constant; pn is the
standard ke turbulence model are tabulated in Table 1. partial bulk pressure of the gas phase species; D is the diffusion
coefcient, and N is the apparent order of reaction. The reaction rate
2.3. Discrete phase model constant ki follows the Arrhenius equation, and the apparent order
of the reaction depends on the oxygen concentration [28]. For the
The behavior of fuel particles in uid is modeled by an Eulerian order of unity (N = 1), the consumption rate of species i at the par-
Lagrangian approach that considers the inertia and hydrodynamic ticle surface is given by

Fig. 1. Schematics of (a) geometry and (b) grid system of the investigated entrained-ow gasier.

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
4 W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx

Table 1
A list of governing equations and the turbulence model.

Governing equation
Continuity Dmp
@xi quij mp;0
_ p;0
Momentum @p P 18lC D Re
@xi qui uj  @x j
@x@ i sij  qu0i u0j qp d2p 24
up  u m_ p Dt
  P DH 0
Energy @
@xi qcp ui T @x@ i k @x
 qcp u0i T 0  j Mjj Rj
Species @Y j 0 0
@xi qui Y j @xi qD @xi  qui Y j Sr Ri
@ @

Turbulence model
Kinematic viscosity lt = qClk2/e
h  i
Kinetic energy l rlkt @x Gk  qe
@xi qui k @xi
@ @ @k
h  i
Dissipation rate @
qui e @x@ i l rlet @e
C 1e Gk ke  C 2e Gk q ek
@xi @xi
Heat conductivity l @T
qcp u0i T 0 k @x
cp Prtt @x i

Diffusion coefcient l @Y
qu0i Y 0j qD @x
 Sctt @x i

Cl C1e C2e rk re Prt Sct

0.09 1.44 1.92 1.0 1.3 0.85 0.7

ki D where V is the mass fraction of volatiles; k is the reaction rate con-
Ri Ap byi pn 0 5
D ki stant; A is the pre-exponential factor; TP is the fuel particle temper-
ature, and Ea is the activation energy of the reaction. The values for
For the reaction order of zero (N = 0), the consumption rate is ex- Yl, kl, Yh, kh, El, and Eh are listed in Table 2 [31].
pressed as When chars are produced from fuel devolatilization, their gasi-
Ri Ap byi ki
6 cation can be described by the following equations [32]:
k1 1
N = 0 represents the solid depletion rate equal to the chemical reac- C 1=2O2 ! CO DH0 111 MJ kmol 13
tion rate. On the other hand, if there is no reaction at the surface,
namely, N = 1, the solid depletion rate changes to the diffusion-con- k2
C CO2 ! 2CO DH0 172 MJ kmol
trolled rate.
k3 1
2.4. Chemical reactions C H2 O ! CO H2 DH0 131 MJ kmol 15
With regard to gas-phase chemical reactions, the relevant equa-
When fuel particles are decomposed into volatiles, chars and tions include [33]
ashes in a high-temperature environment, the compositions re-
k4 1
leased from the fuel can be presented by the following equilibrium H2 1=2O2 ! H2 O DH0 242 MJ kmol 16
equation [29]:
k5 1
Fuel ! a1 CH4 a2 H2 a3 CO a4 CO2 a5 H2 O a6 Char CO 1=2O2 ! CO2 DH0 283 MJ kmol 17
a7 Ash; ai 1 7
k6 1
i CO H2 O ! CO2 H2 DH0 41:1 MJ kmol 18
Considering the devolatilization process that dominates fuel
k7 1
reactions in the initial injection period [30], volatile release is de- CH4 1=2O2 ! CO 2H2 DH0 35:7 MJ kmol 19
scribed by a two-step devolatilization model [31], and it is given
as follows:
Fuel !1  Y l  Charl Y l Table 2
Kinetic parameters of reactions.
 Volatile for low temperature 8
Yl 0.3
Fuel !1  Y h  Charh Y h Yh 1
kl (s1) 200,000
 Volatile for high temperature 9 kh (s1) 1.3  107
El (J kmol1) 104.6
where Y denotes the stoichiometric coefcient. When the Eh (J kmol1) 167.4
temperature is relatively low, the reaction is dominated by Eq. kf (kmol1m m3m3 s1)a A (kmol1m KB m3m3 s1) B Ea (J kmol1)
(8), but it is dominated by Eq. (9) if the temperature is relatively
high. Consequently, the reaction kinetics of volatiles is expressed k1 0.002 0 7.9  107
by: k2 242 0 2.75  108
k3 426 0 3.16  108
dV k4 5  1010 0 1.68  108
kl Y l kh Y h Fuel 10
dt k5 2.2  1020 0 1.67  106
k6 2.6  1010 0 8.4  108
kl Al expEa;l =RT P 11 k7 4000 1 1.26  106
k8 4400 0 1.68  108
kh Ah expEa;h =RT P 12 a
m i1 v 0i .

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx 5

CH4 H2 O ! CO 3H2
DH0 206 MJ kmol
20 Torrefied bamboo CH1:048 O0:465 1:0295O2
! CO2 0:5240H2 O 26
In the species equation, Sr is the summation of various species
reaction rates, and it is expressed as:
Coal CH0:879 O0:291 1:07425O2 ! CO2 0:4395H2 O 27
Sr Mj;r wj;r 21 Carbon conversion (CC) and cold gas efciency (CGE) are two vi-
j1 tal indices used for evaluating the performance of gasication.
! They are dened as follows [37]:
0 1 Y Nr
00 0  1
wj;r v 00
j;r v 0
j;r kf C gi  C gi 22 _ out yCO2 12
m yCO 12 yCH4 12
K 44 28 16
i1 eq i1 CC % @1  A  100 28
m_ in;fuel yc
kf AT B eEa =RT 23
In the above equation, the forward reaction rate constant kf is estab- _ out yH2 HHVH2 yCO HHVCO yCH4 HHVCH4
lished based on the Arrhenius law, where A is the pre-exponential CGE %
_ in;fuel HHVfuel
factor, and B is the temperature exponent. Their values in various
 100 29
chemical reactions are listed in Table 2 as well.
where yi is the mass fraction of species i in the product gas. That is,
2.5. Boundary conditions CC is evaluated from the concentrations of CO2, CO, and CH4 in the
product gas, whereas CGE is determined from the concentrations of
The fuel at 300 K was fed into the gasier from the top of the H2, CO, and CH4.
reactor, and a carrier gas (i.e. air) at 300 K was employed to aid
in the transporting of the fuel particles. Their mass ow rates were
3. Results and discussion
controlled at 0.023 and 0.025 kg s1, respectively. The sizes of the
fuel particles were in the range of 44250 lm, and the average
Three different fuels, comprised of raw bamboo, torreed bam-
particle size was 103 lm. This was determined using the
boo [38], and high-volatile bituminous coal [39], serve as the basis
RosinRammler distribution function [34]. Oxygen was used as
of this study. The torreed bamboo was produced from the torre-
the oxidant. The centerline of the gasier was an axisymmetric line
faction of raw bamboo at 280 C for 1 h followed by natural cooling
so that no heat and mass uxes could pass through the line. The
to ambient temperature. The properties of the fuels, such as prox-
wall of the gasier was conceived as an adiabatic wall, and no slip
imate, elemental, and caloric analyses, are summarized in Table 3.
conditions were obeyed. At the outlet, the pressure was xed at
In this study, the O/F ratio was controlled between 0.5 and 1.1 by
2 MPa, implying that the value was the operating pressure.
varying the mass ow rate of oxygen. According to the O/F ratio,
the ER was in the range of 0.2250.849.
2.6. Numerical method and validation

The commercial software ANSYS FLUENT V12 was used in this 3.1. Gasication phenomena
study to simulate coal and biomass gasication phenomena. In
the simulations, the SIMPLE algorithm was utilized to solve the Fig. 2 rst demonstrates the isothermal contours of the three
governing equations in association with the boundary conditions. fuels in the gasier, where the mass ow rates of fuel and air (car-
A rst-order upwind scheme was employed to calculate the con- rier gas) are 0.023 and 0.025 kg s1, respectively and the O/F ratio
vection and diffusion uxes. A 20  1000 (viz., radial  axial) grid is 0.9. Under the condition of O/F = 0.9, the mass ow rate of oxy-
system was adopted for the predictions in that the system satised gen is 0.01545 kg s1. The gure shows that the high-temperature
the requirement of grid independence [35]. Solid tests for the val- zone is always located in the vicinity of the fuel and oxygen inlets,
idation of chemical kinetics (Table 2) have been carried out in a regardless of which fuel is consumed. This is attributed to the mix-
previous study [35], where the numerical predictions were in good ing of fuel and oxidizer followed by the occurrence of exothermic
agreement with the experimental results. combustion (i.e. Eqs. (13), (16), (17), and (19)). The temperature
decreases downward as a consequence of the endothermic gasi-
2.7. Parameters and performance indices cation reactions (i.e. Eqs. (14), (15), and (20)). The maximum tem-
perature in the gasier depends highly on the type of fuel. It can be
The oxygen-to-fuel (mass ow rate) ratio (O/F ratio) and equiv- seen that relatively more volatile matter (=80.13 wt.%) and less
alence ratio (ER) are two important parameters in practicing fuel
gasication. The ER is dened as the following [36]:
  Table 3
m_ oxygen =m_ fuel real Proximate, elemental, and caloric analyses of fuels.
ER   24
_ oxygen =m
m _ fuel stoichiometric
Raw bamboo Torreed bamboo Coal
(at 280 C for 1 h)
 mass ow ratio of oxygen to fuel,
_ oxygen =m
m _ fuel stoichiometric , can be obtained in accordance with the Proximate analysis (wt.%, dry basis)
VM 80.13 58.80 34.86
elemental analysis and the law of conservation of mass or atoms.
FC 17.75 37.78 58.92
When determining ER, it is assumed that the fuel is comprised of Ash 2.12 3.42 6.22
carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and nitrogen is ignored due to its Elemental analysis (wt.%, dry basis)
low content. When the three fuels react with oxygen stoichiometri- C 46.78 58.43 67.71
cally, they are individually expressed as follows: H 6.38 5.10 4.95
N 0.25 0.34 1.18
Raw bamboo CH1:635 O0:743 1:03725O2 O 46.59 36.13 26.16

! CO2 0:8175H2 O 25 HHV (MJ kg1) 18.75 22.50 26.22

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
6 W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx

Fig. 2. Isothermal proles of the gasication of (a) raw bamboo, (b) torreed bamboo, and (c) coal (O/F = 0.9).

xed carbon (=17.75 wt.%) are contained in the raw bamboo the gasier (Fig. 4b). However, it is noted that more CO2 is pro-
(Table 3); meanwhile, its O/C and H/C ratios are higher. duced in contrast to the raw bamboo. With regard to coal gasica-
Consequently, the higher heating value (HHV) of raw bamboo is tion, the concentrations of H2O and CO2 at the exit are the lowest
lower (=18.75 MJ kg1), and the maximum temperature in the gas- among the three fuels. A comparison between the gasication of
ier is 1348 K (Fig. 2a). The HHV of the torreed bamboo is shown raw bamboo and torreed bamboo reects that the latter is closer
to be 22.50 MJ kg1, so more heat is released from its burning com- to that of coal. It is thus pointed out that the improved properties
pared to that of the raw bamboo. This is the reason that the max- of biomass from torrefaction make the gasication of biomass ap-
imum temperature of the torreed bamboo reaches 2268 K proach that of coal. The concentration of CH4 is extremely low
(Fig. 2b). The HHV of coal is shown to be 26.22 MJ kg1, which is (<0.01%) in all cases. Hence, the concentration contours of methane
much higher than that of the raw bamboo and the torreed are not presented. Figs. 24 indicate that the temperature and spe-
bamboo. Hence, when the coal reacts with oxygen in the gasier, cies concentrations are almost invariant adjacent to the exit of the
the highest temperature is 2840 K (Fig. 2c). Corresponding to the reactor, implying that fully developed fuel gasication has been
gasication of the raw bamboo, torreed bamboo, and coal, the accomplished. The designed geometry of the reactor allows the
average temperatures at the exit of the gasier are shown to be implementation of fuel gasication.
437, 935, and 1002 K, respectively. This reveals that the role of heat
sink played by endothermic gasication (i.e. Eqs. (14), (15), and
(20)) has a profound effect on temperature distribution. 3.2. Syngas formation and gasication performance
In examining the concentration contours of CO and H2 shown in
Fig. 3, the gure depicts that the concentrations of CO and H2 from Fig. 5 displays the proles of mole fractions of H2, CO, and syn-
the gasication of the raw bamboo are relatively low, especially in gas (i.e. H2 + CO) in the product gas under the gasication of the
the case of H2 (Fig. 3a). When the torreed bamboo is gasied, the three fuels where the O/F ratio is 0.9. For the raw bamboo, most
formation of H2 is intensied markedly compared to that of the atomic hydrogen is transformed to H2O (Fig. 4a), so the concentra-
raw bamboo, whereas the CO formation increases slightly tion of H2 is very low. On account of insufcient oxygen supplied in
(Fig. 3b). By virtue of the higher HHV and larger amount of carbon an environment of gasication, some CO is generated. The mole
contained in the coal, the CO concentration from coal gasication is fractions of CO and syngas (i.e. CO + H2) in the product gas are
further enlarged (Fig. 3c). The distributions of H2O and CO2 are dis- around 0.162 and 0.175, respectively. When the torreed bamboo
played in Fig. 4. As a result of the maximum temperature of the is gasied, the H2 formation is raised signicantly, whereas the for-
raw bamboo gasication being lower (Fig. 2a), it is relatively dif- mation of CO is close to that of the raw bamboo. The mole fraction
cult to complete the endothermic reduction reactions (i.e. Eqs. (14), of syngas in the product gas is 0.364, accounting for a 109% incre-
(15), and (20)). As a consequence, the concentrations of H2O and ment in contrast to that of the raw bamboo. This results clearly
CO2 from the gasication of the raw bamboo are shown to be high- indicate that torrefaction is able to facilitate syngas formation from
er (Fig. 4a). The gasication of the torreed bamboo is conducive to biomass gasication, and this behavior is qualitatively consistent
the formation of H2 (Fig. 3b), so less H2O is retained at the exit of with the results of Couhert et al. [24]. With regard to coal

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx 7

Fig. 3. Concentration proles of CO and H2 for the gasication of (a) raw bamboo, (b) torreed bamboo, and (c) coal (O/F = 0.9).

Fig. 4. Concentration proles of H2O and CO2 for the gasication of (a) raw bamboo, (b) torreed bamboo, and (c) coal (O/F = 0.9).

gasication, the mole fraction of syngas is found to be 0.574, stem- in these fuels was converted to CO, CO2, and CH4. Unlike CC, the
ming from the increase in the CO generated. cold gas efciency (CGE) is sensitive to the type of feedstock. Spe-
Upon inspection of the carbon conversion (CC) shown in Fig. 6, cically, the values of CGE from the gasication of the raw bamboo,
the values for the raw bamboo, torreed bamboo, and coal are 92.2, torreed bamboo, and coal are 29.0, 49.8, and 69.1%, respectively.
91.3, and 98.5, respectively, revealing that over 90% of the carbon The CGE of the bamboo is amplied by a factor of 1.72

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
8 W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx

(a) 2000 Bamboo
Torrefied bamboo
0.6 Torrefied bamboo

Outlet mean temperature (K)

Mole fraction




0 0
CO H2 Syngas 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1
Species O/F ratio

Fig. 5. Proles of mole fractions of CO, H2, and syngas in product gases (O/F = 0.9).
(b) 0.8

120 100
CGE 0.6
80 Syngas mole fraction
Carbon conversion (%)

Cold gas efficiency (%)

80 0.4


40 0.2

20 0
0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1
O/F ratio
0 0
Raw bamboo Torrefied bamboo Coal Fig. 7. Proles of (a) the mean temperature at the exit of the gasier and (b) mole
Feed fraction of syngas at various O/F ratios.

Fig. 6. Proles of carbon conversion and cold gas efciency for different fuels
(O/F = 0.9).
Obviously, the outlet mean temperatures rise with increasing O/F
ratios, regardless of which fuel is consumed (Fig. 7a). This arises
(=(49.8%  29%)/29%) after experiencing torrefaction. The value of from the fact that the exothermic oxidation reactions are intensied
the CGE is determined from the heating values and mass fractions as the O/F ratio increases. It is noted that the difference in outlet
of CO, H2, and CH4. The high CC and low CGE resulting from raw mean temperature between the raw bamboo and torreed bamboo
biomass gasication are attributed to the high concentrations of becomes pronounced (>500 K) as the O/F ratio becomes larger than
CO2 and H2O as well as to the low concentrations of CO and H2 or equal to 0.9. This reects that the O/F ratio has a pronounced
in the product gas. Accordingly, it should be pointed out that a high inuence on the thermal behavior of gasication at O/F = 0.9. The
CC value does not with certainty lead to better gasication perfor- higher mean temperature resulting from the reactions of the torr-
mance. The difference in the CGE between the raw biomass and the eed bamboo is conducive to its gasication. Consequently, the syn-
coal is around 40%. Nevertheless, the CGE of the bamboo is in- gas formation from the torreed bamboo is much higher than that
creased by 21% (=49.8%  29%) from the torrefaction process, as a of raw bamboo (Fig. 7b). Unlike the outlet mean temperature, the
result of more H2 being produced (Fig. 5). These results qualita- maximum syngas formations of raw bamboo, torreed bamboo,
tively agree with the ndings of Deng et al. [23]. and coal take place at O/F = 0.9, 0.8, and 0.7, respectively.
The proles of the gas concentrations of CO, H2, CO2, and H2O at
3.3. The effect of O/F ratio on gasication various O/F ratios are plotted in Fig. 8. In the case of the raw bam-
boo gasication, it can be seen that the concentrations of CO2 and
The proles of the mean temperatures at the exit of the gasier H2O are higher than those of CO and H2 within the investigated
from the gasication of the three fuels and the mole fraction of range of O/F ratios (Fig. 8a). This can be explained by higher atomic
syngas at various O/F ratios (0.51.1) are presented in Fig. 7. The O/C and H/C ratios in raw biomass which facilitate the formations
outlet mean temperature is obtained by of CO2 and H2O. The O/C and H/C ratios are reduced notably when
R the bamboo is torreed (Table 3). The formations of CO and H2 are
q  T  v dA
T out 30 thus enlarged to a certain extent (Fig. 8b). Again, this means that
q  v dA torrefaction can improve the gasication performance of biomass.

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx 9

(a) Bamboo 3.4. Gasication performance at various equivalence ratios

CO2 The O/F ratio merely provides an indication of oxygen supply. In
H 2O
0.5 H2 view of the different amounts of C, H, and O contained in biomass
CO and coal (Table 3), the equivalence ratio is a more feasible indicator
by which to describe oxidant supply in terms of the nature of fuel.
The distributions of the CC for the three fuels at various equiva-
Mole fraction

lence ratios are shown in Fig. 9. It is not surprising that an increase

0.3 in ER leads to the growth of the CC, resulting from more oxygen
supplied for reactions. By virtue of the lower HHV for raw bamboo,
0.2 a higher ER is required to reach a higher CC. Alternatively, coal is
featured by a higher HHV; more heat is liberated when it is oxi-
dized. As a consequence, a higher CC can be obtained at a relatively
0.1 lower ER compared to that of raw bamboo. As a whole, whether
raw biomass, torreed biomass, or coal is used for gasication, a
0 CC of over 97% can be achieved if the value of the ER is high
0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1
O/Fratio Instead of the monotonic distributions developed in the CC, the
CGE curves of the three materials are characterized by a maximum
(b) Torrefied bamboo distribution, as shown in Fig. 10. This characteristic is consistent
H 2O
0.5 H2
Mole fraction

Carbon conversion (%)

0.2 80

0.1 70

0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 60
Raw bamboo
Torrefied bamboo
(c) Coal Coal
H 2O 40
0.5 H2 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
Mole fraction

Fig. 9. Distribution of carbon conversion versus equivalence ratio.

0.357 Raw bamboo
80 Torrefied bamboo
0.1 70
Cold gas efficiency (%)

60 0.434
0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1
O/Fratio 50

Fig. 8. Distributions of gas concentration in the product gas from the gasication of 40
(a) raw bamboo, (b) torreed bamboo, and (c) coal at various O/F ratios.

Overall, a lower O/F ratio is conducive to CO formation, whereas a 20

higher O/F ratio makes the formation of H2 go up. In regard to coal
gasication, the concentrations of CO and H2 are higher than those 10
0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
of CO2 and H2O when the O/F ratio is less than 1.0, stemming from ER
the lowest O/C and H/C ratios and the highest HHV among the
three fuels. Fig. 10. Distributions of cold gas efciency versus equivalence ratio.

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034
10 W.-H. Chen et al. / Applied Energy xxx (2013) xxxxxx

with results of Kumar et al. [40]. The most appropriate ER values [9] Chmielniak T, Sciazko M. Co-gasication of biomass and coal for methanol
synthesis. Appl Energy 2003;74:393403.
for the gasication of raw biomass, torreed biomass, and coal
[10] Chen WH, Wu JS. An evaluation on rice husk and pulverized coal blends using a
are shown to be 0.692, 0.434, and 0.357, respectively. Correspond- drop tube furnace and a thermogravimetric analyzer for application to a blast
ing to these values, the O/F ratios are 0.9, 0.7, and 0.7, and the max- furnace. Energy 2009;34:145866.
imum values of CGE are 28.98%, 54.52%, and 80.82%, respectively. [11] Du SW, Chen WH, Lucas JA. Pulverized coal burnout in blast furnace simulated
by a drop tube furnace. Energy 2010;35:57681.
The pronounced difference between the curves for raw bamboo [12] Chen WH, Du SW, Tsai CH, Wang ZY. Torreed biomasses in a drop tube
and torreed bamboo reveals that torrefaction can make the prop- furnace to evaluate their utility in blast furnaces. Bioresour Technol
erties of biomass move toward that of coal, and the maximum CGE 2012;111:4338.
[13] Chen WH, Cheng WY, Lu KM, Huang YP. An evaluation on improvement of
of bamboo is improved by 88%. When the ER exceeds the most pulverized biomass property for solid fuel through torrefaction. Appl Energy
appropriate values, the CGE decays, implying that over oxidation 2011;88:363644.
of fuel occurs, whereby the syngas formation decreases. [14] Chen WH, Hsu HC, Lu KM, Lee WJ, Lin TC. Thermal pretreatment of wood
(Lauan) block by torrefaction and its inuence on the properties of the
biomass. Energy 2011;36:301221.
4. Conclusions [15] Rousset P, Macedo L, Commandre JM, Moreira A. Biomass torrefaction under
different oxygen concentrations and its effect on the composition of the solid
by-product. J Anal Appl Pyrol 2012;96:891.
The gasication phenomena of three different fuels, including [16] Duncan A, Pollard A, Fellouah H. Torreed, spherical biomass pellets through
raw bamboo, torreed bamboo, and coal in an entrained-ow gas- the use of experimental design. Appl Energy 2013;101:23743.
ier are explored and compared using a numerical method. In view [17] Tapasvi D, Khalil R, Skreiberg , Tran KQ, Grnli M. Torrefaction of Norwegian
birch and spruce: an experimental study using macro-TGA. Energy Fuels
of the signicant differences in caloric values among the three 2012;26:523240.
fuels, the reaction temperature in the gasier is signicantly af- [18] Chen WH, Lu KM, Tsai CM. An experimental analysis on property and structure
fected by the feedstocks. The maximum temperature from the gas- variations of agricultural wastes undergoing torrefaction. Appl Energy
ication of raw biomass is lower. Once bamboo is torreed, the [19] Wu KT, Tsai CJ, Chen CS, Chen HW. The characteristics of torreed microalgae.
maximum temperature rises notably. It is noted that the values Appl Energy 2012;100:527.
for the CC of the three fuels are higher than 90%, but there exists [20] Repellin V, Govin A, Rolland M, Guyonnet R. Energy requirement for ne
grinding of torreed wood. Biomass Bioenergy 2010;34:92330.
a pronounced discrepancy in the CGE. The concentrations of H2O [21] Li J, Brzdekiewicz A, Yang W, Blasiak W. Co-ring based on biomass
and CO2 in the product gas from the gasication of raw bamboo torrefaction in a pulverized coal boiler with aim of 100% fuel switching.
are relatively high, so its CGE is merely around 29%. More H2 and Appl Energy 2012;99:34454.
[22] Prins MJ, Ptasinski KJ, Janssen FJJG. More efcient biomass gasication via
CO are generated from the gasication of torreed bamboo, and
torrefaction. Energy 2006;31:345870.
its CGE increases to 49.8, accounting for a 77% enhancement in [23] Deng J, Wang GJ, Kuang JH, Zhang YL, Luo YH. Pretreatment of agricultural
the CGE. The higher the O/F ratio or ER, the higher the CC is. How- residues for co-gasication via torrefaction. J Anal Appl Pyrol 2009;86:3317.
[24] Couhert C, Salvador S, Commandre JM. Impact of torrefaction on syngas
ever, the CGE decreases once the ER is large to a certain extent. Cor-
production from wood. Fuel 2009;88:228690.
responding to the gasication of raw bamboo, torreed bamboo, [25] Strege J, Swanson M, Folkedahl B, Stanslowski J, Laumb J. FischerTropsch
and coal, the optimum values of ER are 0.692, 0.434, and 0.357, catalyst testing in a continuous bench-scale coal gasication system. Fuel
respectively. Under conditions of optimum ER, the CGE of bamboo Process Technol 2011;92:75763.
[26] Morsi SA, Alexander AJ. An investigation of particle trajectories in two-phase
is amplied by 88% after undergoing torrefaction. Torrefaction ow systems. J Fluid Mech 1972;55:193208.
makes the gasication behavior of biomass approach that of coal; [27] Silaen A, Wang T. Effect of turbulence and devolatilization models on coal
it is thus summarized that this thermal pretreatment method is a gasication simulation in an entrained-ow gasier. Int J Heat Mass Trans
promising technique by which to improve the properties of bio- [28] Smith IW. The combustion rate of coal char: a review. Proc Combust Inst
mass for the purpose of enhancing its gasication performance. 1982;19(1):104565.
Taiwan is a subtropical island with abundant biomass. In addition, [29] Wen CY, Chaung TZ. Entrainment coal gasication modeling. Indust Eng Chem
Prod Res Dev 1979;184:68495.
over 6.3 MT of refuse was incinerated in 2011 [41]. Therefore, tor- [30] Du SW, Chen WH, Lucas J. Performance of pulverized coal injection in
refaction is a potential method to upgrade biomass and refuse for blowpipe and tuyere at various operational conditions. Energy Convers
the developments of solid fuel and gasication while they are con- Manage 2007;48:206976.
[31] Du SW, Chen WH. Numerical simulation and practical improvement of
sumed for energy.
pulverized coal combustion in blast furnace. Int Commun Heat Mass
Transfer 2006;33:32734.
Acknowledgment [32] Roberts DG, Harris DJ. Char gasication with O2, CO2 and H2O: effects of
pressure on intrinsic reaction kinetics. Energy Fuels 2000;14:4839.
[33] Jones WP, Lindstedt RP. Global reaction schemes for hydrocarbon combustion.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the nancial support of the Combust Flame 1988;733:23349.
National Science Council, Taiwan, ROC, for this study. [34] Macias-Garcia A, Cuerda-Correa Eduardo M, Diaz-Diez MA. Application of the
RosinRammler and GatesGaudinSchuhmann models to the particle size
distribution analysis of agglomerated cork. Mater Charact 2004;52:15964.
References [35] Chen CJ, Hung CI, Chen WH. Numerical investigation on performance of coal
gasication under various injection patterns in an entrained ow gasier. Appl
[1] BP. Statistical Review of World Energy; 2012. Energy 2012;100:21828.
[2] Pettinau A, Ferrara F, Amorino C. Techno-economic comparison between [36] Lv PM, Xiong ZH, Chang J, Wu CZ, Chen Y, Zhu JX. An experimental study on
different technologies for a CCS power generation plant integrated with a sub- biomass airsteam gasication in a uidized bed. Bioresour Technol
bituminous coal mine in Italy. Appl Energy 2012;99:329. 2004;95:95101.
[3] Chen WH, Chen JC, Tsai CD, Jiang TL. Transient gasication and syngas [37] Skodras G, Someus E, Grammeils P, Palladas A, Amerantos P, Basinas P, et al.
formation for coal particles in a xed-bed reactor. Int J Energy Res Combustion and environmental performance of clean coal and products. Int J
2007;31(9):895911. Energy Res 2007;31:123750.
[4] Grobl T, Walter H, Haider M. Biomass steam gasication for production of SNG [38] Rousset P, Aguiar C, Labbe N, Commandre JM. Enhancing the combustible
process design and sensitivity analysis. Appl Energy 2012;97:45161. properties of bamboo by torrefaction. Bioresour Technol 2011;102:822531.
[5] Zhan X, Zhou Z, Wang F. Catalytic effect of black liquor on the gasication [39] Chen WH. A simplied model of predicting coal reaction in a partial oxidation
reactivity of petroleum coke. Appl Energy 2010;87:17105. environment. Int Commun Heat Mass Transfer 2007;34:6239.
[6] Jakobs T, Djordjevic N, Fleck S, Mancini M, Weber R, Kolb T. Gasication of high [40] Kumar K, Eskridge K, Jones DD, Hanna MA. Steam-air uidized bed gasication
viscous slurry R&D on atomization and numerical simulation. Appl Energy of distillers grains: effects of steam to biomass ratio, equivalence ratio and
2012;93:44956. gasication temperature. Bioresour Technol 2009;100:20628.
[7] Shen CH, Chen WH, Hsu HW, Sheu JY, Hsieh TH. Co-gasication performance of [41] Environmental Protection Administration. Yearbook of Environmental
coal and petroleum coke blends in a pilot-scale pressurized entrained-ow Protection Statistics of Republic of China (Taiwan); 2012.
gasier. Int J Energy Res 2012;36:499508.
[8] Ahmed II, Gupta AK. Sugarcane bagasse gasication: global reaction
mechanism of syngas evolution. Appl Energy 2012;91:7581.

Please cite this article in press as: Chen W-H et al. A comparison of gasication phenomena among raw biomass, torreed biomass and coal in an en-
trained-ow reactor. Appl Energy (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.034