Trace-Metal Scavenging from Biomass Syngas with Novel High-Temperature Sorbents

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Effective syngas cleanup is one of the remaining major technical challenges yet to be resolved and one that will provide the most benefit to the suite of bio-thermochemical process technologies. Beyond tars and acid gases, which are themselves a significant detriment to reforming catalysts and associated equipment, semi-volatile metals can also damage cleanup systems, catalysts, and contaminate the fungible products. Metals are a difficult challenge to deal with whether using hot-gas filtration or low-temperature processing. Even though most of the metal tends to condense before the barrier filter of hot-gas cleanup systems, some small percentage of the metal (large enough ... continued below

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3.91 MB and 52 pages

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Gale, Thomas K. & Walsh, Pete M. March 21, 2007.

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Description

Effective syngas cleanup is one of the remaining major technical challenges yet to be resolved and one that will provide the most benefit to the suite of bio-thermochemical process technologies. Beyond tars and acid gases, which are themselves a significant detriment to reforming catalysts and associated equipment, semi-volatile metals can also damage cleanup systems, catalysts, and contaminate the fungible products. Metals are a difficult challenge to deal with whether using hot-gas filtration or low-temperature processing. Even though most of the metal tends to condense before the barrier filter of hot-gas cleanup systems, some small percentage of the metal (large enough to damage syngas-reforming catalysts, the candle filters themselves, and gas turbine blades) does pass through these barrier filters along with the clean syngas. Low-temperature processing requires expensive measures to remove metals from the process stream. Significant costs are required to remove these metals and if they are not removed before contacting the catalyst, they will significantly reduce the life of the catalyst. One approach to solving the metals problem is to use high-temperature sorbents to capture all of the semi-volatile metals upstream of the barrier filter, which would prevent even small amounts of metal from passing through the filter with the clean syngas. High Temperature sorbents have already been developed that have been shown to be effective at capturing semi-volatile metals from vitiated combustion effluent, i.e., high-temperature flue gas. The objective on this project was to evaluate these same sorbents for their ability to scavenge metals from inert, reducing, and real syngas environments. Subsequently, it was the objective of this project to develop designer sorbents and an injection technology that would optimize the effectiveness of these sorbents at capturing metals from syngas, protecting the barrier filters from damage, and protecting the catalysts and other downstream equipment from damage. Finally, the high-temperature sorbent technology would be expanded to look at the role that these sorbents play in relation to tars and acid gases, which are the other significant pollutants within syngas. In addition to the technology development work described above, all of the information obtained in this work was to be incorporated into a syngas speciation model, which would allow direct prediction of transformations that occur in syngas as it passes from the gasifier and the sorbent-injection section and through the barrier filters. Unfortunately, Congressional budget cuts prevented most of this work from being accomplished. Hopefully, additional funds will be provided to this work in the future, which will allow its completion. However, at the halting point of this project, the following has been accomplished. A major initial objective of the project was accomplished, which was to determine whether or not high-temperature sorbents found to work within vitiated air might also work in an inert environment. Kaolinite, one of the sorbents previously investigated as a high-temperature sorbent for incinerators, was found to effectively capture potassium. In addition, while previous work on short-time (i.e., 1 to 2 seconds) dispersed-phase reactions found that sorbent utilization was limited to two metal oxide species captured for every one aluminosilicate crystal structure, the present investigation found that many times higher insoluble metal/sorbent capture ratios were obtained. This result not only suggests that small additions of sorbent might be highly effective, but the fact that the products were insoluble (in part due to the temperature of sorbent injection, i.e., < 1500 F) may be an indication that the products are unlikely to react with, corrode, or otherwise damage the candle-filter elements. There has been little work on the capture of potassium metal vapor by high-temperature sorbents, prior to this work. The fact that potassium can be effectively captured by kaolinite clay powder is a significant finding of this work, which applies both to combustion and gasification. The effect of different temperatures and pressures on the effectiveness of sorbent at capturing metal and protecting the filters needs to be evaluated. The impact of tars on sorbents and sorbents on tars also needs to be considered, and is one of the major questions about this technology. There is much left to be done in this area, which if performed will greatly benefit the advancement of this technology and the world through its application.

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3.91 MB and 52 pages

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO/14313-1
  • Grant Number: FG36-04GO14313
  • DOI: 10.2172/901105 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 901105
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc878428

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • March 21, 2007

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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Gale, Thomas K. & Walsh, Pete M. Trace-Metal Scavenging from Biomass Syngas with Novel High-Temperature Sorbents, report, March 21, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc878428/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.