The overall strategy of the work plan is designed to:
- carry out systematic investigations into each topic identified in sections 1.1 and 1.2 as necessary to reach the project final goal, including the development of materials and the experimental verification of their effectiveness to improve gas quality, at real gasification conditions, at bench-to-pilot-scale (up to 100kWth);
- evaluate the purity of syngas against existing gas cleaning and conditioning systems, by means of fluidized bed reactor at a significant scale (1 MWth) to provide sufficient and reliable information for industrial applications;
- assess technical feasibility of process simplification and intensification actions envisaged in this project, by operation of an integrated gasification and hot gas cleaning and conditioning fluidized bed prototype reactor (1 MWth).
According to this strategic approach, the work is planned to be divided into 5 work packages that relate to research/innovation activities, and 2 work packages (the 7th and 1st) that include, respectively, the outward (dissemination and exploitation of results, IP protection) and inward (consortium and project management) measures, instruments and initiatives, which altogether will characterise the organisation and the policy of the UNIfHY consortium. All work packages are linked to each other by the overall aim to integrate the proved UNIQUE and hydrogen purification technologies, in order to increase process conversion efficiency in a cost effective way. Preliminary calculations using experimental results obtained in UNIQUE and technical data for WGS and PSA showed that a hydrogen conversion efficiency of 73 % could be achieved. This result was obtained using a biomass with 20 % of moisture and recirculating the purge combustible gas from PSA to the gasifier.
The duration of the individual tasks is based on experience accumulated as a result of previous activities in similar research efforts, and due account has been given to potential troubles, such as delays in the assembly of experimental facilities, repetition of test campaigns, etc. The whole work is structured according to a coherent, simultaneous and/or sequential development of different RTD actions.
WP 1 deals with management that will be carried out according to standard procedures and a straightforward management structure. WP 2 and WP 3 are addressed to the investigations needed to develop the innovations which are at the core of this project:
- WP2. Characterisation of feedstock; Bench scale ( < 1 kWth) gasification tests to optimize catalytic candles operation; Bench scale PSA tests to verify systems coupling and compatibility; Catalytic foams and sorbents realization and characterization; Bench scale tests to assess Fe/Foam and Cu/Foam for WGS operation; Bench scale tests to assess the reforming and CO2 capture capacity of sorbents;
- WP3. Realization of a WGS unit that uses the Fe/foam and Cu/foam tested in WP2 and a PSA unit; their integration in a portable purification station (PPS) of 50 Nm3/h (118 kg/day) based upon the commercial PSA technology of HyGear.
It is worth stressing that, in this first block of work packages, experimental gasification rigs of different capacity, ranging from 0.5 to 20 kg/h of biomass feedstock, will be utilized to test catalysts, sorbents and filtration candles, so that standard characterisation data, such as sorption capacity, catalyst reactivity, will be always confronted with the behaviour exhibited at real process conditions. The implementation of such innovations in industrial gasification processes and their integration into a readily applicable hot gas conditioning and purification technology is performed by means of different steps dealt with in WP 4, WP 5.
- WP4. Use of different feedstock and optimized catalytic filter candles in the UNIQUE 100 kWth gasifier for tests at pilot scale to demonstrate the feasibility of the process at pilot scale (50 kg/day of hydrogen). These tests will demonstrate the feasibility of UNIfHY using the double fluidized bed steam and air gasification technology.
- WP5. Finally, the portable purification station (including WGS) will be integrated into a side stream of the 1000 kWth gasifier to demonstrate operation of the system at industrial gasification scale. These tests, unlike the previous ones, will demonstrate the feasibility of UNIfHY using the steam and oxygen gasification technology with a single, internally circulating fluidized bed reactor.
The activities here have been designed to test the proposed technology at different scale levels and grades of integration, to offer strong and significant evidence of its effectiveness, while keeping as low as possible the project efforts and the costs. A satisfactory balance between these sometimes conflicting objectives has been achieved by including in the consortium partners running gasification facilities that can accommodate the hot gas conditioning and purification system by means of relatively small hardware modifications.
As far as modelling and numerical simulation are concerned (WP 6), these are planned in strict connection with the experimental investigations, and are conceived as a means to better understand potential applications and limitations of the developed systems when considering a wide range of conditions. A further output of WP 6 will be the implementation of calculation tools addressed to the design, for different input conditions, of the gas cleaning and conditioning system here proposed, with the related LCA, to help it to impact the relevant industrial sectors with greater momentum. As a matter of fact, this task will have a fundamental role to approach potential users of the innovative technology developed in UNIfHY, specifically SMEs. To reach such goals, a unified coordination of modelling activities is required, although they will be developed at different scales (micro and macro systems) and related to different areas of expertise (thermodynamics, chemical reaction kinetics, fluid dynamics, plant design, energy systems), and this is why they are grouped in one, self-contained WP. This WP will have tight connections with all other WPs. It requires the input from experimental laboratory tests to determine the optimal system layout and process parameters. Data from 100kWth and 1000kWth tests will be used to evaluate and improve the models.
WP 7 is devoted to dissemination, exploitation of results and IPR protection. The applicants are well aware of the importance of these activities to render UNIfHY highly pervasive in the renewable energy RTD arena, particularly for the important role played by SMEs in the field of small to medium power generation systems. Indeed two participants in this Consortium (HyGear and EPC) are SMEs and other two participants (PALL and ALH2E) are industries, thus a consortium with a large entrepreneurial capacity able to assure implementation of the project results and their transfer to end users in the EU and worldwide. HyGear and PALL, being industrial companies, will take care of the industrial development of the results (production of many replicas of the UNIfHY system); meanwhile EPC, being an engineering company, will take care of potential applications in different industrial contexts. Moreover, ALH2E, also a partner in the consortium, is a world leader in the hydrogen filling station sector, thus one of the biggest candidate users of the UNIfHY technology.