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Chemical and Biological Process Development


Catalytic Gasification of Wet Biomass

This project provides the process development of a catalytic gasification technology for recovery of energy from wet biomass including biosludge and unconverted residuals from ethanol fermentation. The work includes preliminary batch reactor testing with the wet biomass materials; bench-scale continuous-flow process testing to develop process kinetics and address various handling issues, including removal of sulfur and minerals; scale-up testing in a half-ton per day processing unit to verify scale-up of the process; and a conceptual plant design and costing effort to provide a basis for commercial application of the technology. This process development effort is the latest stage of work on a processing concept initially investigated in the 1980s as a fuels-from-biomass technology. The work builds on the extensive effort at PNNL in catalyst development for high-pressure aqueous phase gasification that was undertaken during the past decade. The process provides an efficient means to recover the energy left in residual material from ethanol production. This process not only improves the overall process efficiency of ethanol production but also addresses the requirement for wastewater treatment inherent in the fermentation. In addition, the technology has potential for use in energy recovery from other wet biomass processing residues from sugar production processes and biorefinery concepts. The current project includes CRADA partners Antares, Eastman Chemical, and Galleon Engineering.

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Chemical and Biological Process Development

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