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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ON-FARM EVALUATION OF THERMOCHEMICAL CONVERSION OF KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS STRAW TO ENERGY
2009 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop an integrated system for on-farm energy production from straw residues generated during grass seed production including the test of a farm-scale gasification reactor suitable for burning grass seed straw to produce high quality syngas that can be used to generate electricity and other value-added bio-based products to increase on-farm income. Using the seed production cropping system and a test gasification reactor platform, we will determine the most economic technical paths to overcome agronomic, microbiological, and physical chemical limitations to on-farm production of energy and other bio-based products.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
An integrated system for harvest, collection, storage and transport of the straw to a farm-scale gasification reactor will be evaluated for concept and related technologies of on-farm energy production from Kentucky bluegrass straw. The goal will be to develop an economical and integrated system that will result in the conversion of straw into a high quality syngas with a quality ratio around 12 (H2 + CO)/(CO2 + H2O) and net thermal-to-chemical energy efficiency in the 65-70% range. Documents NFCA with Farm Power.


3.Progress Report

Farm-scale gasification reactor constructed on a farm. Scalable technologies are needed to convert agricultural residues into energy because most residues are distributed at low density around the landscape. ARS scientists collaborated with Farm Power, Inc. to construct and test a new counter-current gasification reactor at a farmsite in Spokane County, Washington. Operation parameters including air/biomass ratio, feed rate, and operating temperatures were varied and their impact on synthesis gas composition was quantified. The unit successfully gasified Kentucky bluegrass straw and mill screenings and produced syngas with CO content up to 17%. This accomplishment led to preparation of an Invention Disclosure form and initiated preparation of a patent application for the integrated biomass gasification system.

The ADODR monitored the cooperator’s performance on this extramural agreement through site visits, meetings, conference calls, email correspondence and review of data.


Last Modified: 12/27/2014
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