Process optimization and performance evaluation of a downdraft gasifier for energy generation from wood biomass
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Uchegbu, Ikenna Damian
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In recent time, due to the increasing demand for energy and the need to address environment-related issues, a great deal of focus has been given to alternative sources of energy, which are green, sustainable and safe. This work considers the process optimization and performance evaluation of a downdraft gasifier, suitable for energy generation using wood biomass. The assessment of the performance of the downdraft gasifier was based on the amount of output energy generated as well as the emission characteristics of the output. The Response Surface Methodology (RSM) was employed for the determination of the optimum range of the process parameters that will yield the optimum conversion of the biomass to energy. The optimum process parameters that produced the highest rate of conversion of biomass to energy (2.55 Nm3/kg) during the physical experiments were: temperature (1000 °C), particle size (6.0 mm) and residence time (35 min). The produced gas indicated an appreciable generation of methane gas (10.04 % vol.), but with a significant amount of CO (19.20 % vol.) and CO2 (22.68 % vol.). From the numerical results obtained, the gas yield was observed to increase from 1.86908 Nm3/kg to 2.40324 Nm3/kg as the temperature increased from 800 °C to 1200 °C. The obtained results indicate the feasibility for the production of combustible gases from the developed system using wood chips. It is envisaged that the findings of this work will assist in the development of an alternative and renewable energy source in an effort to meet the growing energy requirements.
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