GPT - Thermo-Chemical Processes Group Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón. Universidad de Zaragoza
Pilot scale fluid bed gasification plant
In 2004, the pilot-scale fluidized-bed gasification plant was designed and constructed by the GPT, in order to obtain syngas from different carbon solids. The gasification pilot plant is based on fluidized bed technology and operates under autothermal conditions like a full-scale plant. This facility is designed for a processing capacity of 10 kg/h.
The setup was designed with a clear aim at achieving complete versatility in feeding different biomass feedstocks or any other valuable residues, including MSW or sewage sludge, among others. Thus, special attention and efforts have been devoted to the feeding system, which have yielded in the development, design of construction of a series of several exchangeable feeders that enable full flexibility with respect to the feedstock to be input in the installation.
The processing capacity of the plant can reach up to 15-20 kg/h, depending on the bulk density and other inherent characteristics of the feedstock taken into consideration. The installation features include a gas cleaning system for both catalytic tar cracking and NOx reduction.
This plant is currently in operation using RDF (Refused Derived Fuel) as raw material. This project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (sub-programme INNPACTO) and it is carried out in collaboration with URBASER S.A. (an associate of the multinational company ACS).
The gasification experiments could be performed using air or enriched air. The operating temperature is determined by Equivalence Ratio, since the process designed at this scale is an autothermal process and has no external heating system that would allow modifying these two variables independently. Particulate matter and tars in the syngas are removed by a gas scrubber. The plant also offers the possibility of improving the syngas quality by catalytic steam reforming of tars in a fixed bed reactor.
Furthermore, a related infrastructure is associated to the plant, including several lab scale gasification and pyrolysis plants with feeding capacities ranging from 1-3 kg/h up to 15 kg/h, along with all the related equipment and lab ware necessary for on-line gas analysis with portable Micro-GC’s equipped with TCD detectors, and characterization of the different liquid and solid fractions from the process, including tar analyzers, GC-MS, GC-FID, HPLC, BET analyzer, Hg Porosimeter, Calorimetric Pump, etc. This associated infrastructure can be coupled on-line downstream to the hot gas post processing from the pilot plant, both including a series fluidized and fixed bed reactors to experiment alternative tar cracking strategies.

Tech. Spec.

Feeding materials: agricultural and forestry residues, sewage sludge, municipal solid waste, industrial plastic waste.
Shape: preferably pellets with a maximum size of 8 mm in diameter and 80 mm in length.
Humidity content: up to 5 %.
Raw material feeding: 3 – 10 kg/h.
Coadjuvant agent feeding: 0,2 – 1,0 kg/h.
Air flow: 3 – 30 Nm3/h.
Oxygen flow: 8 – 40 Nl/min.
Catalytic reactor temperature: up to 900 ºC.
The plant comprises the following elements:
  • Storage hoppers for raw material and coadjuvant agent (e.g. silica sand).
  • Metering screw feeders for the solid materials.
  • Fluidized bed reactor of 160 mm in diameter, char pot and cyclone.
  • Air compressor with a compressed air tank and a dryer.
  • Feeding system of pure oxygen.
  • Air heating system used to reach the reaction temperature.
  • Catalytic fixed bed reactor of 244 mm in diameter.
  • Steam generator.
  • Gas scrubber.
  • Temperature, pressure and flow control systems and monitoring.
  • Syngas sampling system.
  • Syngas analysing system (gas chromatograph and NH3 – UV analyser).
  • Torch for exhaust gas.
Composition of the outlet gas of fluidized bed reactor: H2, CO, CO2, N2, CH4, C2H4, C2H2, C2H6, H2S y NH3.
Composition of the outlet gas of catalytic reactor: H2, CO, CO2, N2, CH4, C2H4, C2H2, C2H6, H2S y NH3.
Composition of the outlet gas of scrubber: H2, CO, CO2, N2, CH4, C2H4, C2H2, C2H6, H2S y NH3.
Tar content in the outlet gas of fluidized bed reactor: g Tar / Nm3.
Tar content in the outlet gas of catalytic reactor: g Tar / Nm3.

Research projects

Competitive research projects
Title: “Aprovechamiento energético mediante gasificación de fango de EDAR y compost.”
Funding Organization: Spanish Environmental Ministry.
Participants: University of Zaragoza and TAIM-TFG.
Duration: 2005 – 2007.
Title: “Observatorio de tecnologías de tratamientos de residuos sólidos urbanos con máximo aprovechamiento y mínimo vertido (OTERSU±).” Programa CENIT.
Funding Organization: subcontract with URBASER S.A.
Participants: University of Zaragoza and URBASER S.A.
Duration: 2006 – 2010.
Title: “Mejora de los procesos de gasificación para la utilización de residuos sólidos urbanos.” Subprograma INNPACTO.
Funding Organization: Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Participants: University of Zaragoza and URBASER S.A.
Duration: 2010 – 2013.


No publications are available up to date due to the different confidentiality agreements signed between the GPT and the different private companies providing financial support.

European Comission Brisk
The Thermochemical Processes Group (GPT) is partly funded by the EU's European Social Fund and by the Gobierno de Aragón (Aragonese government)
EU's European Social Fund Gobierno de Aragón