Pulp Mill Proposes Biomass Gasification Project to Replace Natural Gas; Hydrogen Generation a Possibility
|The HydroMax reactor and the two stages of processing. Click to enlarge.|
Diversified Energy Corporation and Evergreen Pulp have formed a partnership and submitted a proposal to pursue a project to replace natural gas usage at the pulp mill with syngas produced on-site by the gasification of low-value excess wood fines using HydroMax gasification technology. (Earlier post.)
Using an iron/tin molten metal based reactor, the HydroMax system produces both carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) in separate and distinct streams from the reactor. In addition to providing fuel for heat and power, the syngas can be used in Fischer-Tropsch processing for fuels and chemicals, or to deliver a hydrogen stream for subsequent purification and use.
The HydroMax process begins with a molten iron/tin (FeSn) bath heated to 1,300° C. Steam is injected into the bath, and is then thermo-chemically split resulting in H2 gas (released) and oxidized iron. In the second step, after the iron is oxidized, steam injection ceases and a carbon source (here, the biomass) is injected into the reactor. Carbon has a high affinity to oxygen and reduces the oxidation of Fe to its pure form and produces a CO-rich syngas which is released for use.
Diversified Energy says that the HydroMax technique can deliver gasification systems at up to 50% the cost of traditional systems and with 80+% efficiency.
We are excited to move towards the implementation of this green technology that could eliminate our dependency on natural gas and produce biomass hydrogen for fuel cells at the same time. Through such projects, we endeavor to do our part in supporting California as a leader in the field of renewable fuel development.—David Tsang, CEO of Evergreen Pulp
The Diversified Energy-Evergreen Pulp proposal is for the Public Interest Energy Research Natural Gas (PIER-NG) Program, a part of the California Energy Commission. The program is seeking research, development, and demonstration of technologies capable of replacing natural gas usage with renewable resources.
The focus of the state solicitation is on biomass-to-gas and/or hybrid projects specifically addressing industrial and commercial process heating or combined heat and power needs. The state is expected to make an award this Spring, with project execution occurring over a period of 36 months.
Diversified Energy Corporation is the prime contractor for the program, providing program management and the gasification technology. Evergreen Pulp, the largest kraft pulp mill is the US, is acting as the host for the project at their kraft pulp mill in Eureka, CA.
A PIER-NG program award would allow Diversified Energy to take HydroMax from its several bench-scale tests and extensive analyses and modeling to a larger-scale test deployment.
The two companies have also discussed activities beyond the initial PIER-NG demonstration. This broader relationship could include installation of a full-scale HydroMax system capable of generating enough high-Btu syngas to replace all of the natural gas consumed at the Eureka, CA plant. This would make Evergreen Pulp the first US pulp mill to run its operations entirely fossil-fuel free.
Diversified Energy is also developing the Centia process to turn virtually any lipidic compound—e.g., vegetable oils, oils from animal fat and oils from algae—into aviation fuel or other high-value fuels. Centia integrates a sequence of three thermocatalytic-reforming processes that are either extensions of current commercial processes or based on recent laboratory breakthroughs. Centia can also be used to make additives for cold-weather biodiesel fuels and holds the potential to fuel automobiles that currently run on gasoline. (Earlier post.)