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GTI shows viable method for conversion of biomass into gas

Photo: Ben Schumin
Photo: Ben Schumin
Published by
Simon Matthis - 19 Jun 2014

In a recently completed project, Gas Technology Institute (GTI) worked with Haldor Topsoe Inc. on an integrated biorefinery to make renewable drop-in gasoline, successfully producing a high-octane transportation fuel. The use of renewable gasoline could reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 92 percent when compared to conventional gasoline.

"Over the past four years, we've demonstrated an economically viable method for thermochemical conversion of woody biomass into gasoline. We’re extremely pleased with the positive results and the potential to meet growing energy needs with cost-effective and clean renewable resources," says Rick Knight, GTI institute engineer and manager of the installation, integration, and operational testing at GTI.

The pilot-scale project, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) integrated biorefineries program, converted wood into bio-derived gasoline by fully integrating and optimizing biomass gasification and syngas cleanup steps with a unique process to turn syngas into gasoline.

The test campaigns took place at GTI’s state-of-the-art gasification campus in metro Chicago. First a GTI-based Andritz-Carbona biomass gasifier turned wood into syngas. That syngas was cleaned of tars and other contaminants in a reforming process jointly developed by Andritz-Carbona and Haldor Topsoe. Then the GTI Morphysorb process removed carbon dioxide and sulfur gases in an acid gas removal (AGR) pilot unit. For the last step, the Haldor Topsoe Improved Gasoline Synthesis (TIGAS) process converted the syngas into gasoline blendstock. Other partners included forest products company UPM, who provided the wood feedstock, and Phillips 66, who assisted with design, supervised fuel testing, arranged fleet testing and provided funding.