Advanced Systems: Preprocessing and Characterizing Coal-Biomass Mixtures as Next-Generation Fuels and Feedstocks Email Page
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Performer: 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Website: 
Award Number:  FE0005451
Project Duration:  10/01/2010 – 06/30/2014
Total Award Value:  $1,250,817.00
DOE Share:  $999,061.00
Performer Share:  $251,756.00
Technology Area:  Coal and Coal/Biomass to Liquids
Key Technology: 
Location: 

Project Description

The project team is developing engineered systems for manufacturing coal-biomass briquettes or pellets containing 10 to 30 percent biomass that are ideally suited for transportation, storage, and direct co-feeding into industrial gasifiers. An in-depth experimental study to determine the key reactive properties for coal-biomass mixed fuels is underway, testing sub-bituminous coal mixed with biomass feedstocks of hybrid poplar wood, switchgrass, or corn stover. Enabling technology for this project includes the application of novel binding additives and, when required, an advanced conditioning process for upstream sizing, upgrading, and drying. Upon completion, the project will provide information on the equipment, necessary conditions, and process requirements for the manufacture of optimal coal-biomass feedstock for co-gasification.

Project Benefits

The Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to supporting research focused on making use of the nation's coal and biomass resources. The Coal and Coal Biomass to Liquids (C&CBTL) Technology Program at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is developing advanced technologies to remove technical barriers that will foster the commercial adoption of coal and coal/biomass gasification technologies for the production of affordable hydrogen and liquid fuels (such as gasoline, diesel, aviation, and military fuels). The hydrogen can be used in advanced systems for efficient power generation produced with near-zero emissions and with the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The synthesis gas (syngas) produced by the gasification of coal and coal/biomass mixtures can be converted by chemical processes to generate clean liquid hydrocarbon fuels. To successfully complete the development of C&CBTL technologies from the present state to the point of commercial readiness, the C&CBTL Program efforts are focused on two Key Technologies: (1) Coal/Biomass Feed and Gasification, and (2) Advanced Fuels Synthesis.

The Coal/Biomass Feed and Gasification Key Technology is advancing scientific knowledge of the production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels from coal and/or coal-biomass mixtures. Activities support research for handling and processing of coal/biomass mixtures, ensuring those mixtures are compatible with feed delivery systems, identifying potential impacts on downstream components, catalyst and reactor optimization, and characterizing the range of products and product quality.

This Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University project will develop an engineered system for manufacturing coal-biomass briquettes or pellets containing 10 to 30 percent biomass for direct co-feeding into industrial gasifiers. The impact of this project will be to develop a cost-effective gasification-based CBTL process to produce renewable liquid fuels that will provide diversity of fuel supply and energy security while resulting in lower future capital and operating costs. Specifically, this project will determine the key reactive properties for coal-biomass mixed fuels testing sub-bituminous coal mixed with biomass feedstocks of hybrid poplar wood, switchgrass, or corn stover utilizing as necessary novel binding additives and an advanced conditioning process for upstream sizing, upgrading, and drying.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
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Technology Manager 
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Principal Investigator 
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