Initial testing has found the concentrated biomass is 10 percent more efficient than other biomass feedstocks evaluated, said Sean Lee, the CEO of Food Recycle Science.
"We saw that and said, 'Wow, this is a great discovery,'" Lee said.
The steam hydrogasification reaction, which CERT engineers began developing in 2005, has been found to be 12 percent more efficient, with 18 percent lower capital costs, compared to other mainstream gasification technologies when evaluated by the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.
The reaction also has other advantages. It can be used with mixed fuel stocks, including agricultural byproducts, waste wood, municipal wastes and sewage sludge. The optimal plant size can be smaller because of the lower capital investment needed. This means smaller fuel plants can be located near sources of feedstocks, reducing the cost and carbon emissions released by transportation of fuel stocks.
The grant from the California Energy Commission will allow for the evaluation of new feedstock sources, including algae, which can be readily grown at waste water treatment plants, and the concentrated biomass produced by the Food Recycle Science process.
Another goal is to produce synthetic natural gas from a mix of biomass, food waste, and biosolids as a renewable replacement for natural gas found in the earth and sea.
CERT engineers project that substantial synthetic natural gas could be gasified out of the carbonaceous wastes produced annually in California. They estimate that more than 132 trillion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas could be produced in the state. That could replace 5.5 percent of natural gas found in the earth and sea with a clean, renewable resource.
If successful, the process could also cut greenhouse gases released by the burning of natural gas by an estimated 10.5 mi
|Contact: Sean Nealon|
University of California - Riverside