Summary
Gasification is a process that converts biomass- or fossil fuel-based carbonaceous materials into gases, including as the largest fractions: nitrogen (N2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), and carbon dioxide (). This is achieved by reacting the feedstock material at high temperatures (typically >700 °C), without combustion, via controlling the amount of oxygen and/or steam present in the reaction. The resulting gas mixture is called syngas (from synthesis gas) or producer gas and is itself a fuel due to the flammability of the H2 and CO of which the gas is largely composed. Power can be derived from the subsequent combustion of the resultant gas, and is considered to be a source of renewable energy if the gasified compounds were obtained from biomass feedstock. An advantage of gasification is that syngas can be more efficient than direct combustion of the original feedstock material because it can be combusted at higher temperatures so that the thermodynamic upper limit to the efficiency defined by Carnot's rule is higher. Syngas may also be used as the hydrogen source in fuel cells, however the syngas produced by most gasification systems requires additional processing and reforming to remove the contaminants and other gases such as CO and to be suitable for low-temperature fuel cell use, but high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells are capable of directly accepting mixtures of H2, CO, CO2, steam, and methane. Syngas is most commonly burned directly in gas engines, used to produce methanol and hydrogen, or converted via the Fischer–Tropsch process into synthetic fuel. For some materials gasification can be an alternative to landfilling and incineration, resulting in lowered emissions of atmospheric pollutants such as methane and particulates. Some gasification processes aim at refining out corrosive ash elements such as chloride and potassium, allowing clean gas production from otherwise problematic feedstock material. Gasification of fossil fuels is currently widely used on industrial scales to generate electricity.
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Gasification
Gasification is a process that converts biomass- or fossil fuel-based carbonaceous materials into gases, including as the largest fractions: nitrogen (N2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), and carbon dioxide (). This is achieved by reacting the feedstock material at high temperatures (typically >700 °C), without combustion, via controlling the amount of oxygen and/or steam present in the reaction. The resulting gas mixture is called syngas (from synthesis gas) or producer gas and is itself a fuel due to the flammability of the H2 and CO of which the gas is largely composed.
Producer gas
Producer gas is fuel gas that is manufactured by blowing through a coke or coal fire with air and steam simultaneously. It mainly consists of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), as well as substantial amounts of nitrogen (N2). The caloric value of the producer gas is low (mainly because of its high nitrogen content), and the technology is obsolete. Improvements over producer gas, also obsolete, include water gas where the solid fuel is treated intermittently with air and steam and, far more efficiently synthesis gas where the solid fuel is replaced with methane.
Water gas
Water gas is a kind of fuel gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It is produced by "alternately hot blowing a fuel layer [coke] with air and gasifying it with steam". The caloric yield of this is about 10% of a modern syngas plant. Further making this technology unattractive, its precursor coke is expensive, whereas syngas uses cheaper precursor, mainly methane from natural gas. Synthesis gas is made by passing steam over a red-hot carbon fuel such as coke: (ΔH = +131 kJ/mol) The reaction is endothermic, so the fuel must be continually re-heated to maintain the reaction.
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