Energy & Fuels, Vol.25, No.11, 5394-5406, 2011
Nascent Biomass Tar Evolution Properties under Homogeneous/Heterogeneous Decomposition Conditions in a Two-Stage Reactor
In order to study the mechanism of biomass tar formation and elimination in a two-stage downdraft gasifier, the nascent rice straw pyrolysis tar evolution properties under homogeneous/heterogeneous decomposition conditions have been investigated in a constructed lab-scale two-stage reactor by varying factors as temperature, concentration and reforming agents of CO2/H2O/O-2, and char bed heights. The nascent tar was produced in the first stage reactor and then decomposed in the second stage with different reforming agents or char beds. In the first stage, the results showed that nascent pyrolysis tar yields increased with increasing pyrolysis temperature, tar was mainly produced during 200-400 degrees C, and 400-500 degrees C would be a proper pyrolysis temperature range in commercial operation due to little effect on tar yields in higher temperature. In the second stage, it can be observed that nascent biomass tar was converted into polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (even soot), thermally stable one ring aromatics, and noncondensable gases in homogeneous conditions with increasing temperature. Different effects were obtained in varying tar species under different homogeneous reforming agents. However, benzene, toluene, styrene, phenol, and naphthalene are the most typical compounds, accounting for 50-75% in total tar concentration at 900 degrees C in all decomposition conditions. Char bed can selectively reduce PAH species remarkably and increase the toluene yields. As for the three reforming agents, steam showed the highest efficiency in tar elimination, while CO2 and O-2 present will induce OH, H, and O radicals formation, which increases hydrocarbon conversion. The mechanism of tar destruction in a two-stage downdraft gasifier can be concluded as follows: nascent tar yields from the pyrolysis stage will be first reformed into PAHs, thermally stable one ring aromatics and noncondensable gases in the throat region, and then PAHs species are almost completely decomposed by the char bed, which are the main troublesome tar components in syngas, and finally the syngas with low tar was obtained.