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Biomass Gasification and Syngas Cleaning

Researchers working on the gasification unit.Bioeconomy Institute engineers are conducting research to convert biomass into clean syngas using gasification. A pilot-scale 25 kilograms per hour fluidized bed gasifier and syngas cleaning system was built at the BioCentury Research Farm. The reactor vessel incorporates a novel guard heating system to simulate near-adiabatic operation of industrial gasifiers, and is effective for gasification temperatures up to 900°C and operating pressures up to 1 atmosphere. The system features continuous online sampling of both contaminants and gas species and a state-of-the-art control system. The cleaning system downstream of the gasifier removes the contaminants using several techniques: oil scrubbing is used to remove tars, sulfur compounds are removed via solid-phase adsorption and ammonia is removed by water scrubbing. The primary gasification feedstock is switchgrass, but other possibilities include corn stover, wood fiber, corn fiber and red oak.


  • Produces Fischer-Tropsch quality clean gas:
    – H2S < 0.2 ppm, COS < 0.6 ppm, CS2 < 0.01 ppm
    – NH3 < 0.9 ppm
  • Continuous limestone injection system for extended operation with high ash content feedstocks.
  • Slipstream syngas conditioning system suitable for gas fermentation applications.

Future Work

  • Hybrid processing of synthesis gas through fermentation.
  • Gasification of refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and cleanup of produced syngas.

Learn more about biomass gasicfication and syngas cleaning
Download the biomass gasification and syngas cleaning factsheet (PDF)

Principal Investigators