Bioresource Technology, Vol.133, 92-101, 2013
Numerical and experimental investigation of downdraft gasification of woody residues
A pilot scale throated downdraft gasifier was operated with vine prunings as feedstock to assess the effect of biomass loading rate on process performance. A distributed 1D model of mass and heat transfer and reactions was applied to aid the interpretation of experimental evidence. The model takes into account peculiar gasifier design features (air inlets and throat) and it reproduces satisfactorily the temperature profiles and the mass fluxes of gaseous species at different biomass loading rates. The integration of pilot-scale experiments and numerical simulations provides sound indications for the gasifier operation. In particular, simulations performed at different loading rates and feedstock humidity show that steady state operation and stable performance of the gasifier rely on the thermal balance between the enthalpy of cold biomass moving downward and the counter-current radiative heat fluxes moving upward from the oxidation zone. This balance can be destabilized by high loading rate and moisture contents. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.