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A new gasification process moves a step closer to commercialization

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Next year IHI Corp. (IHI; Tokyo, Japan; www.ihi.co.jp) plans to construct a demonstration plant in Indonesia that will gasify 50 ton/d of lignite (brown coal) into synthesis gas (syngas; predominantly hydrogen and carbon monoxide) using IHI’s twin-tower, bubbling fluidized-bed gasification process. This process has been shown to produce 1,000 m3 of syngas for each ton of low-grade coal at the firm’s 6-ton/d test plant at Yokohama, Japan. Following a successful demonstration of the technology in the Indonesian facility, the company anticipates commercialization of units with capacities of 300 to 1,000 ton/d of coal, with the syngas used for making fuels, methane (synthetic natural gas) or chemicals such as methanol. In the IHI process (flowsheet), lignite (coarse and dry) is pyrolyzed and gasified in a bubbling fluidized-bed reactor using sand (for heat transfer) and steam (as an oxygen source) at 800–900°C. Syngas emerging from the top is separated from solids by a cyclone, and the elutriated particles are returned to the reactor. Tars, unreacted char and cooled sand from the top of the bed are transported into an air-blown, pneumatic-riser furnace, where tars and char are completely burned into CO2, and…
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