Clean Energy Utilisation from Biogas and Biomass Gasification

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Gaseous renewable bioenergy sources, in the form of biogas and bio-syngas from biomass gasification, are facing a major issue in their utilisation because of the variable fuel properties and accordingly variable combustion performance. The vast change in CH4 concentration of biogas leads to strong fuel variability effects. For the cleaner bio-syngas, which is the gasification product of biomass, the issue of fuel variability is equally important. With variable fuel mixtures, there are concerns over the combustion efficiency/stability as well as the pollutant emissions. To deal with this challenge, a good understanding of the underlying physical and chemical processes of the combustion of biogas and bio-syngas is required. Based on fundamental research, this project is intended to obtain a thorough understanding on the important issue of fuel variability through integrated modelling and experimentation studies. The research has academic, environmental, social, as well as potential economic impacts.

This joint project between the Universities of Lancaster and Sheffield aims to develop realistic and predictive physicochemical models for biogas and bio-syngas combustion and mappings between the combustion and emission characteristics and the fuel compositions for clean energy utilisation from renewable gaseous fuels. Based on rigorous modelling and experimentation, the project will deliver a thorough understanding of the utilisation of biogas and bio-syngas, highlighting the effects of variable composition. The project is intended to provide a better understanding of the complex physicochemical processes of bioenergy utilisation, which can advance bioenergy technology towards deployment.

The project is composed of four inter-connected work packages: (1) WP1: development of chemical kinetic mechanisms, where a range of kinetic mechanisms for biogas and bio-syngas combustion will be developed and optimised; (2) WP2: large-eddy simulation of biogas and bio-syngas combustion, where parametric studies of fuel variability effects will be performed using advanced turbulent combustion models; (3) WP3: experimentation of biogas and bio-syngas combustion, where advanced combustion diagnostics will be systematically carried out; and (4) WP4: validation, integration and optimisation, where guidelines on the utilisation of biogas and bio-syngas with different compositions will be drawn.

Planned Impact

A thorough understanding on the fuel variability effects can lead to effective fuel management in practical applications. The project has obvious commercial relevance, which can be further exploited by the industrial partners. With the objective of fully understanding the fuel variability effects of biogas and bio-syngas, the proposed study offers directly significant competitive benefits to the UK renewable energy sector and industrial companies working on bioenergy, as well as long-term benefits to the public in countering adverse climate change.

The environmental impact of clean energy utilisation from biogas and biomass gasification is obvious. The project will provide the UK government and key policy makers a robust database to evaluate the technical uncertainties of using alternative fuels with varying constituents. The current project will deliver an integrated mapping between the combustion characteristics and the fuel composition, which could lead to further exploitations by relevant industrial companies in the energy sector. The more specific aspects of the impact are summarised as follows:

(1) Prediction of the combustion process with variable fuel constituents is essential for the design of cost-effective operations and monitoring of combustors using biogas and bio-syngas.

(2) Provision of a database that can be directly linked to the industrial application of biogas and bio-syngas combustion will provide the much needed scientific knowledge for wider utilisation of bioenergy in the relevant industrial sector.

(3) The project results can assist the economic analysis, the risk assessment and uncertainty analysis for the utilisation of bioenergy.

(4) The deployment of technology on energy utilisation from biogas and biomass gasification has important implications in both ensuing the long-term sustainable energy supply and addressing the environmental concerns.

The project will also have an impact on staff development. The researchers will develop skills in performing robust physiochemical modelling and computational simulations and experimentation, as well as the ability to link them with real world applications.

The industrial collaborators will directly benefit from the research. The mappings between the fuel compositions of biogas and bio-syngas and their combustion and emission characteristics to be established in this project can be directly utilised in industrial practice. The two industrial partners account for much of the UK's gas turbine engine manufacturer (Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Lincoln) and power generation user (E.On). Their participation ensures the industrial relevance of the project research. The research outcome from the project can be directly absorbed by the participating companies.

It is planned that the research outcome including the database will be made fully accessible to members of the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub as well as the relevant UK government organisations and industrial companies.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/K036750/1 21/10/2013 28/02/2017 £487,680
EP/K036750/2 Transfer EP/K036750/1 22/05/2017 21/11/2017 £235,826
 
Description This project was completed on 21 November 2017, which had been transferred to Queen Mary University of London from Lancaster University on 22 May 2017. The main aim of the project was to increase our knowledge and understanding about the turbulent combustion of biogas and bio-syngas and provide other researchers with new important insights so as to pave the way ahead for their utilisations. The project was intended to achieve the following objectives:
Task 1: To develop optimised chemical kinetic mechanisms for biogas and bio-syngas combustion.
Task 2: To perform a parametric study of the effects of fuel variability using large-eddy simulation.
Task 3: To develop real combustor experimental measurements capable of time-dependent three-dimensional flame diagnostics.
Task 4: To validate the numerical simulations and to develop industrial guidelines for biogas and bio-syngas compositions in terms of combustion characteristics.
At this stage, all the 4 research tasks have been successfully accomplished. The main findings of the project are related to chemical kinetics and fuel variability effects. It was identified that reliable predictions of the turbulent combustion of renewable gaseous fuels require accurate detailed reaction mechanisms. For the chemical kinetics of biogas combustion, it was found that the predictions of the models deliver better predictions for lean and stoichiometric mixtures than for rich ones. For the chemical kinetics of bio-syngas combustion, we found that the agreement between model predictions and measurements at low temperatures and low pressures as well as at high temperatures and high pressures was poor when the radical HO2 was involved. We have also identified the necessity of future large-scale parameter estimations for chemical kinetic scheme developments. Fuel variability effects are found to be very important, where large variations in fuel composition affects the flame characteristics (observed in both experiments & numerical simulations) while small fluctuations in fuel composition also play a part in determining the combustion and emission characteristics. A fundamental understanding of the effects of fuel variability on physicochemical properties of biogas and bio-syngas combustion has been achieved, which can be used to guide industrial applications of these gaseous biofuels.
On the academic side, the findings on chemical kinetics of biogas and bio-syngas combustion can be taken forward by other researchers. On the applied side, the fundamental understanding of the effects of fuel variability on biogas and bio-syngas combustion can be used to guide industrial applications of these gaseous biofuels. The next step is to investigate the combustion utilisation of liquid biofuels.
Exploitation Route The main scientific challenge met by the project was to develop an in-depth understanding of biogas and bio-syngas combustion with particular attention to the effects of fuel variability. The project used advanced physicochemical modelling and experimentation to tackle challenging problems in clean energy utilisation from biogas and biomass gasification. It was part of a long-term effort to keep the UK in the forefront of renewable energy research as well as in the forefronts of computational modelling of flow and combustion systems and combustion diagnostics.
The industrial collaborator can directly benefit from the research outcome of this project. The mappings between the fuel compositions of biogas and bio-syngas and their combustion and emission characteristics established in this project can be directly utilised in industrial practice.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Transport

 
Description The project is now accomplished. The research outputs of the project have both academic and industrial impacts. In addition, further funding was secured through a H2020 project involving EU-Brazil collaborations, which can potentially enhance the global impact of the research project in terms of biomass utilisation. A thorough understanding on the fuel variability effects can lead to effective fuel management in practical applications. The project has obvious commercial relevance, which can be further exploited by the industrial partners. With the objective of fully understanding the fuel variability effects of biogas and bio-syngas, the project offers directly significant competitive benefits to the UK renewable energy sector and industrial companies working on bioenergy, as well as long-term benefits to the public in countering adverse climate change. The environmental impact of clean energy utilisation from biogas and biomass gasification is obvious. The project provided the UK government and key policy makers robust results to evaluate the technical uncertainties of using alternative fuels with varying constituents. The project delivered an integrated mapping between the combustion characteristics and the fuel composition, which could lead to further exploitations by relevant industrial companies in the energy sector. The more specific aspects of the impact are summarised as follows: (1) Prediction of the combustion process with variable fuel constituents is essential for the design of cost-effective operations and monitoring of combustors using biogas and bio-syngas. (2) Provision of results that can be directly linked to the industrial application of biogas and bio-syngas combustion provided the much-needed scientific knowledge for wider utilisation of bioenergy in the relevant industrial sector. (3) The project results can assist the economic analysis, the risk assessment and uncertainty analysis for the utilisation of bioenergy. (4) The deployment of technology on energy utilisation from biogas and biomass gasification has important implications in both ensuing the long-term sustainable energy supply and addressing the environmental concerns. The project also has an impact on staff development. The researchers involved have developed skills in performing robust physiochemical modelling and computational simulations and experimentation, as well as the ability to link them with real world applications.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description HPC4E (High Performance Computing for Energy)
Amount € 215,110 (EUR)
Funding ID 689772 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2017