The Effect of Air Flow Rate and Biomass Type on the Performance of an Updraft Biomass Gasifier

Arthur M. James, Wenqiao Yuan, Michael D. Boyette, Donghai Wang


Airflow and the type of biomass are the two most important factors influencing the performance of a biomass gasifier. In this research, the effects of air flow rate (air-fuel equivalence ratios of 0.21, 0.25, and 0.29) and biomass type (woody biomass, agricultural residue, and perennial grass) on the performance of an updraft biomass gasifier were evaluated based on its tar and producer gas generation. It was found that increasing airflow increased the formation of tar species for all biomass types studied, but no significant differences in producer gas composition were found when the air-fuel equivalence ratio was changed. Thus, air-fuel equivalence ratios ranging from 0.21 to 0.25 were deemed appropriate for minimal tar generation. The results also showed that different biomass types generated producer gas with significantly different tar contents: woodchips yielded the most tar, followed by sorghum stover and prairie hay. The higher heating value of producer gas from various biomass types was also significantly different. Wood chip-derived producer gas had the greatest higher heating value, followed by prairie hay and sorghum stover. The carbon monoxide content in the produce gas of the three biomass types also exhibited significant differences with varying biomass type, similar to the higher heating value, but there were no significant differences in the H2 content with varying biomass type or airflow.


Gasification; Biomass; Producer gas; Updraft gasifier; Tar; Air-fuel equivalence ratio

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