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Novel gasifier uses liquid copper as the heat source

By Gerald Parkinson |

Liquid copper is employed to gasify wastes in a process being developed by Ze-gen (Boston, Mass.; www.ze-gen.com) and will be tested in a small commercial plant in an industrial park in Attleboro, Mass. Scheduled for completion late next year, the plant will convert 150 ton/d of ground wood waste into synthesis gas (syngas). The gas will generate 7 MWth of energy for use by the park, either as electricity or steam. Ze-gen’s gasifier is a refractory-lined vessel that contains a bath of liquid copper. Waste material is fed into the top of the vessel and falls onto the copper, where it is instantaneously gasified at 2,000–2,500°F. Air or oxygen is also injected into the gasifier. The resultant syngas is 1:1 H2:CO, plus some carbon dioxide, says David Robertson, vice-president of technology. Impurities in the gas are removed by conventional fluegas treatment, while solid residue from the waste accumulates as slag, which is removed periodically. The process is exothermic, so external heating (by natural gas or electricity) is needed only for startup. Liquid copper is used for the bath because it maintains a steady temperature and a constant concentration of O2, says Robertson. Another advantage of the process is its flexibility…
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