Dr. Al Ratner
Participation year
Project title

Analysis of Biomass Gasification Data: Production Potential of Wet Versus Dry Paper Sludge


Gasification of biomass has become an area of key interest as it is reasonably quick and a direct way of converting material into an efficient fuel source that works in many industrial systems. The purpose of this work is to explore biomass gasification and the comparison between wet and dry paper sludge during the pyrolysis temperature of 800_C, at 1 atm and rapid heating rate. In testing, a small concentration of O2 was added to the gasification agent (N2) to enhance CO yields. The evolution of CO, CO2, CH4, O2, and H2 were measured throughout the pyrolysis process. Experimental results show that at 800_C CO and CO2 production was nearly 50-60% greater in dry paper sludge than in wet paper sludge. CH4 production was observed, however the results were rarely repeatable due to the sensor’s sensitivity to moisture and tar in the gas byproduct. No hydrogen was observed, as would be expected for the short experimental residence time (0.2 seconds). Given the experimental condition of the two materials, theoretical combustion and evaporation energies of each material were calculated for production potential at the University of Iowa Power Plant. Theoretical energy output shows a 25% greater potential for dry paper sludge compared to that of wet paper sludge.

Brett  Hiller
U of Ark/Fayetteville