Andrés Almeida, Juan Manuel de and Roche, Elena and Narros Sierra, Adolfo and Rodriguez Hurtado, Encarnación
Sewage sludge gasification. Dolomite performance under different operating conditions.
In: "8th International Conference ORBIT 2012", 12/06/2012 - 15/06/2012, Rennes, France. pp. 725-732.
Gasification is a technology that can replace traditional management alternatives used up to date to deal with this waste (landfilling, composting and incineration) and which fulfils the social, environmental and legislative requirements. The main products of sewage sludge gasification are permanent gases (useful to generate energy or to be used as raw material in chemical synthesis processes), liquids (tars) and char. One of the main problems to be solved in gasification is tar production. Tars are organic impurities which can condense at relatively high temperatures making impossible to use the produced gases for most applications. This work deals with the effect of some primary tar removal processes (performed inside the gasifier) on sewage sludge gasification products. For this purpose, analysis of the gas composition, tar production, cold gas efficiency and carbon conversion were carried out. The tests were performed with air in a laboratory scale plant consisting mainly of a bubbling bed gasifier. No catalyzed and catalyzed (10% wt of dolomite in the bed and in the feeding) tests were carried out at different temperatures (750ºC, 800ºC and 850ºC) in order to know the effect of these parameters in the gasification products. As far as tars were concerned, qualitative and quantitative tar composition was determined. In all tests the Equivalence Ratio (ER) was kept at 0.3.
Temperature is one of the most influential variables in sewage sludge gasification. Higher temperatures favoured
hydrogen and CO production while CO2 content decreased, which might be partially explained by the effect of the
cracking, Boudouard and CO2 reforming reactions. At 850ºC, cold gas efficiency and carbon conversion reached 49%
and 76%, respectively. The presence of dolomite as catalyst increased the production of H2 reaching contents of 15.5%
by volume at 850 °C. Similar behaviour was found for CO whereas CO2 and CnHm (light hydrocarbons) production
decreased. In the presence of dolomite, a tar reduction of up to 51% was reached in comparison with no catalyzed tests,
as well as improvements on cold gas efficiency and carbon conversion. Several assays were developed in order to test catalyst performance under more rough gasification conditions. For this purpose, the throughput value (TR), defined as kg sludge “as received” fed to the gasifier per hour and per m2 of cross sectional area of the gasifier, was modified. Specifically, the TR values used were 110 (reference value), 215 and 322 kg/h·m2. When TR increased, the H2, CO and CH4 production decreased while the CO2 and the CnHm production increased. Tar production increased drastically with TR during no catalysed tests what is related to the lower residence time of the gas inside the reactor. Nevertheless, even at TR=322 kg/h·m2, tar production decreased by nearly 50% with in-bed use of dolomite in comparison with no catalyzed assays under the same operating conditions.
Regarding relative tar composition, there was an increase in benzene and naphthalene content when temperature
increased while the content of the rest of compounds decreased. The dolomite seemed to be effective all over the range of molecular weight studied showing tar removal efficiencies between 35-55% in most cases. High values of the TR caused a significant increase in tar production but a slight effect on tar composition.