Design Topic Selection and Team Organization (Report #1)

Category: , By Mike

The topic our team has chosen for our capstone design project is a biomass gasification chamber. This chamber would be used to gasify biomass (wood, paper, etc) to a high temperature, which will in turn create synthesis gas as well as some byproducts. This synthesis gas, or syngas, mostly consists of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) which can be used to run a multitude of applications including engines and stovetops. There are several other gases that are produced as byproducts, but they are minimal. For our project, we will look to control the O2 content so we can produce the maximum amount of CO and H2. This will be accomplished through the use of a simple throttle. Using a CO2 sensor, we will be able to know just how much O2 we need.

This type of technology is in much demand now due to several factors. One of the most prominent reasons is rising gas prices as well as United States dependence on foreign oil. These topics are now at the forefront of many American’s minds. This biomass gasification chamber would give consumers an alternative option to expensive natural gas that now dominates the market. The effects of such a technology could have extensive implications on the economics of the oil markets.

Similarly, this chamber would be using renewable energy because it is based on the gasification of biomass. Biomass is a broad term that essentially means any sort of carbon based material that can be used as fuel. In our case, we would be using biomass logs that would be in turn gasified in the chamber. This process is much more environmental-friendly than simply burning the biomass because the gasification process has significantly less emissions. Also, the ash byproduct can be used as fertilizer for plants and crops. Similarly, reducing the use of fossil fuels is extremely important as issues of global warming seem to be everywhere. Since biomass is renewable it would eliminate the need to drill for fossil fuels, something that would significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted by humans.

Through researching existing biomass gasifiers, we have discovered an open market for smaller personal gasifiers. It is predicted that the future of biomass gasification is in small in-house biomass gasifiers due to the high cost of storing and transporting the producer gases.

For all of the above stated reasons, the biomass gasification chamber has many advantages and uses for people around the world.

Our team will be a solid work force for several reasons. First and most important, is that we all have worked together in the past on projects during our engineering educational careers. All of these projects have been resounding successes, so we believe that this project will be a success. Also, since we have worked together in the past and get along, we predict that there will not be any arguments or discrepancies. On the technical side, we all have strengths in different areas that have been brought forth by our job and internship experiences. This will help in increasing the flow of ideas as we work on this project.
 

2 comments so far.

  1. Anonymous February 19, 2008 at 7:14 AM
    I am interested in the land application of the ash. Do you know where the ash land application practice is taking place? If so, what type of regulations were applicable to do this?
  2. Ama February 25, 2009 at 7:20 AM
    "This process is much more environmental-friendly than simply burning the biomass because the gasification process has significantly less emissions. Also, the ash byproduct can be used as fertilizer for plants and crops."

    I am also interested in the ash, and its activity or lack thereof - is it beyond ordinary charcoal, grey ah? black ash? what is it?

Something to say?