[Gasification] Commercial gasifiers in Europe

Tom Miles tmiles at trmiles.com
Sun Dec 1 16:55:37 CST 2013


There are many commercial gasifiers in operation in Europe and North
America. Most are in heating applications. Several in the US were built in
the 1980s and 1990s with biomass energy incentives. There are more than a
dozen updraft gasifiers burning fuels like wood waste or rice husks. There
are a few fluidized bed gasifiers. Many of the heaters could be called
staged combustors since they are close coupled to boilers or air heaters.
These are generally small (<30 MWth) boilers used in industry and
institutional heating. Most people don't recognize that incorporation of
principles of gasification has improved combustion of dirty fuels like
poultry litter to be burned without severe slagging and fouling.
There are only a few commercial gasifiers that generate power in the US. In
most cases our electricity is too cheap and biomass fuels are too expensive
to generate power commercially via gasification. I know of a few downdraft
gasifiers that are used to generate power commercially. Two plants in
California use the Ankur Scientific gasifier (500 kWe and 1 MWe).
http://www.phoenixenergy.net/ Production of biochar as a co-product is
important source of income for these plants. There are other plants at this
scale that prefer to stay "under the radar." Caterpillar engines are used
primarily in the plants that I know. I understand that Cat is very
interested in the producer gas applications. Jenbacher, which has more than
100 MWe of gensets fired by gasifiers, has a 2 MWe genset at University of
British Columbia. That installation is based on fuel savings for heat and
carbon sequestration (BC has a carbon tax on natural gas), not on
electricity. Extra money was spent on the educations functions of the
facility. Cummins has supplied small engines (100 kWe) to demonstration

We haven't seen many commercial small scale systems. As Tom Reed mentions
Community Power Corporation built about 40 gasifiers, many of which have
been used by research organizations but some are operated commercially. I
don't know how many are still in use. 

Harrie might be able to provide better numbers for Europe. You can find
lists of gasifiers and suppliers in his book. I don't know the circumstances
of the installations in Europe to be able to determine which are commercial
and which are for research and demonstration. There are reportedly more than
150 small scale (80 kWe/100 kWth) Spanner gasifiers in operation on farms in
Germany. I have read site visit reports for several of these. They are sold
primarily as a means of generating heat and secondarily for power

-----Original Message-----
From: Gasification [mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On
Behalf Of David Coote
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2013 1:13 PM
To: gasification at lists.bioenergylists.org
Subject: [Gasification] Commercial gasifiers in Europe

Hi Tom,

Would you say there are any commercial gasifiers in operation in Europe 
or North America?



On 2/12/2013 6:00 AM, gasification-request at lists.bioenergylists.org wrote:
> Message: 8
> Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2013 16:53:55 -0800
> From: "Tom Miles"<tmiles at trmiles.com>
> To: "'Discussion of biomass pyrolysis and gasification'"
> 	<gasification at lists.bioenergylists.org>
> Subject: Re: [Gasification] Fluidised bed reactor
> Message-ID:<00cf01ceee2f$d0047630$700d6290$@trmiles.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="iso-8859-1"
> Thomas,
> Third parties or associated organizations are beginning to solve some of
> Ankur's problems, including the nozzle issue. Like them or not they sell a
> lot of systems so people are finding ways to improve them.
> Europe continues to be one of the most progressive regions for gasifier
> development.  We look forward to seeing more commercial installations.
> Worldwide there are more than 450 organizations that are working on the
> production of synthesis gas for liquid fuels or chemicals.
> As you well know it all takes time and money.
> Tom

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