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Gasification of Woody Biomass for Power Generation and Production of Liquid Fuel


Recently, “woody biomass gasification system” has been getting popular. The system can produce combustible gas directly from woody biomass by a thermal process called “pyrolysis”, and then generate electric power and heat by burning the gas. Generally speaking, most of biomass exist thin and widespread form over the earth surface, and therefore collection of biomass from a wide area tends to be costly. This pyrolysis system can be made compact and has a high efficiency of electric power generation and can operate on rather small quantity of biomass available in a local area. By using pyrolysis, it is possible to cut down size and cost of power plant compared with those of conventional system that burns biomass directly and generate electric power by steam turbines.

Commercial projects and proof projects that use the above-mentioned “woody biomass gasification system” for providing electric power and liquid fuel have been increasing in number. Tsukishima Kikai Co.,Ltd established its own woody biomass gasification system at Senhoku city in Akita prefecture in August 2010. This plant gasifies waste woody chips and woody scraps that amount to 3,000 ton a year, and it can provide 300 kW of electricity by burning the gas in a gas engine-generator. At the same time the exhausted heat of the plant is recovered and used for other purposes.

Kawasaki Plant Systems Co.,Ltd accomplished a range of proof experiment of a woody biomass gasification system and power generation plant, in August 2010 at Niyodogawa-Cho, Kochi prefecture. The proof experiment has been conducted for three years since April 2007, under contract from NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). Forestry residue was gasified and burnt in a gas turbine to generate electric power. The experiment has proven that the plant can provide 150 kW of electricity by consuming 2,700 ton of forestry residue a year. The exhausted heat is recovered and used for drying the woody biomass.

At Naka-Cho, Tokushima prefecture, the first Japanese test plant was installed that can gasify woody biomass and then turns the gas into liquid fuel. A full-fledged proof experiment of the plant is presently under way. This project has been jointly conducted by Micro Energy Co. which developed plant system, and Yonden Engineering Co.,Inc which operate plant. The plant is a kind of BTL (Biomass to Liquid) production system that can produce 20 liter of liquid fuel from 100 kg of woody biomass per hour. The liquid fuel is to be consumed by boilers, municipal cars and forestry machineries.


Fig.  Schematics of BTL Production System
Fig.  Schematics of BTL Production System


1) Ringyo News:
2) Chemical Daily
3) A news release of the Kawasaki Heavy Industry Co.
4) Micro Energy Co.: http://www.microenergy.co.jp/
    et al

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