gasifier optimization

The Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems key technology area focuses on improving the performance and reducing the costs of advanced gasifiers. Specifically, current projects focus on creating models to better understand the kinetics and particulate behavior of fuel inside a gasifier.  This work supports development of a highly advanced gasifier optimally configured with its supporting systems, which would incorporate the most aggressive and successful technologies resulting from both Gasification Systems program and other DOE programs. Anticipated improvements include highly efficient new reactors for smaller scale applications and superior products, systems integration to increase efficiency and reduce costs plant-wide, and allow for more use of low-cost, low rank coals, expanding opportunities for gasification systems and lowering feedstock costs. Additionally, research projects are also under way to optimize microbially converting coal to methane.

Development of Reacting Multiphase Models for Advanced Gasification Processes and Experimentation for Model Development and Validation

NETL’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) is developing validated models for advanced gasification technology so that new concepts can be developed with less empirical testing, and yielding improved performance. Computational models are being developed to simulate and understand performance before a design is finalized, which is important for reducing cost. During new technology development empirical scale up information is not available because reactors at the large-scales that are required have not been built. Science-based models with quantified uncertainty are important tools for reducing the cost and time required for development because traditional scale-up methods do not work well for multiphase flow reactors, such as the ones used for gasification.

  • Development of Reacting Multiphase Models for Advanced Gasification Processes (ORD Task 2)
  • Experimentation for Model Development and Validation (ORD Task 3)

New Concepts for Gasification and Fuel Conversion

ORD is accelerating deployment of advanced gasification systems by aligning its core strengths with industry’s needs and technology gaps. Efforts are focused on technological advancement of novel gasification concepts to (1) reduce the coal gasification costs; (2) increase overall efficiency of the gasification system; and (3) reduce emissions including carbon. The overall goal of this task is to design a compact, low temperature, and economically viable gasifier to produce value-added chemicals from coal.

  • New Concepts for Gasification and Fuel Conversion (ORD Task 4)

Material Interactions during Gasification

ORD is focusing its refractory material research in two areas, (1) improving refractory material service life; and (2) modeling and controlling slag chemistry – both of which have specific tasks targeting refractory material development, sensor development, ash/slag management, and vanadium phase studies. Ash agglomeration data is being used in models of fluidized bed gasification systems. Ash particles can become sticky during gasification, causing agglomeration in fluidized beds, leading to poor gas flows or gasifier shutdown in fluidized bed systems.

  • Material Interactions during Gasification (ORD Task 5)


Research is being conducted to enhance and optimize microbially converting coal to methane at a production rate and purity to be industrially relevant to support power generation, or the production of transportation fuels/fertilizer/chemicals. 

Gasifiers for High H2 Syngas Production

Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is further developing an advanced pilot-scale gasifier for use in a first-of-a-kind, commercially relevant demonstration plant. Research is being conducted on advanced water-gas shift processes and catalysts for testing at pilot-plant scale, to reduce the cost of high-hydrogen syngas production.

The Ohio State University is conducting research utilizing chemical looping to separately produce hydrogen and CO2 from gasification of carbonaceous feedstocks including coal.

Alstom is focusing its research on chemical looping for conversion of coal to high-hydrogen syngas for power generation and/or liquid fuel production.

National Carbon Capture Center
Transport Reactor Integrated Gasification (TRIG™), originally developed by Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) based on the company's fluidized catalytic cracking technology, has been enhanced through extensive testing by Southern Company at the Power Systems Development Facility in cooperation with NETL. Testing corroborated that the gasifier effectively handles low-rank coals (e.g., Powder River Basin lignite), which account for half of the worldwide coal reserves but are often considered uneconomic as energy sources due to high moisture and ash contents.

Systems Analyses
As part of the support for the Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems key technology area, systems studies are being conducted to provide unbiased comparisons of competing technologies, determine the best way to integrate process technology steps, and predict the economic and environmental impacts of successful development.

Recently Completed Projects:

Archived Projects:

Other key technologies within Gasification Systems include the following:

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