WO2016037103A1 - Apparatuses, systems, cooling augers, and methods for cooling biochar - Google Patents

Apparatuses, systems, cooling augers, and methods for cooling biochar Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2016037103A1
WO2016037103A1 PCT/US2015/048636 US2015048636W WO2016037103A1 WO 2016037103 A1 WO2016037103 A1 WO 2016037103A1 US 2015048636 W US2015048636 W US 2015048636W WO 2016037103 A1 WO2016037103 A1 WO 2016037103A1
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WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
biochar
outer tube
configured
system
cooling auger
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2015/048636
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Philip W. Appel
Thomas D. Weir
Sarah E. Love
Original Assignee
Ag Energy Solutions, Inc.
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201462046080P priority Critical
Priority to US62/046,080 priority
Application filed by Ag Energy Solutions, Inc. filed Critical Ag Energy Solutions, Inc.
Publication of WO2016037103A1 publication Critical patent/WO2016037103A1/en

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F13/00Arrangements for modifying heat-transfer, e.g. increasing, decreasing
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10BDESTRUCTIVE DISTILLATION OF CARBONAGEOUS MATERIALS FOR PRODUCTION OF GAS, COKE, TAR, OR SIMILAR MATERIALS
    • C10B49/00Destructive distillation of solid carbonaceous materials by direct heating with heat-carrying agents including the partial combustion of the solid material to be treated
    • C10B49/02Destructive distillation of solid carbonaceous materials by direct heating with heat-carrying agents including the partial combustion of the solid material to be treated with hot gases or vapours, e.g. hot gases obtained by partial combustion of the charge
    • C10B49/04Destructive distillation of solid carbonaceous materials by direct heating with heat-carrying agents including the partial combustion of the solid material to be treated with hot gases or vapours, e.g. hot gases obtained by partial combustion of the charge while moving the solid material to be treated
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10BDESTRUCTIVE DISTILLATION OF CARBONAGEOUS MATERIALS FOR PRODUCTION OF GAS, COKE, TAR, OR SIMILAR MATERIALS
    • C10B53/00Destructive distillation, specially adapted for particular solid raw materials or solid raw materials in special form
    • C10B53/02Destructive distillation, specially adapted for particular solid raw materials or solid raw materials in special form of cellulose-containing material
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J3/00Production of combustible gases containing carbon monoxide from solid carbonaceous fuels
    • C10J3/46Gasification of granular or pulverulent flues in suspension
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J3/00Production of combustible gases containing carbon monoxide from solid carbonaceous fuels
    • C10J3/72Other features
    • C10J3/723Controlling or regulating the gasification process
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F5/00Elements specially adapted for movement
    • F28F5/06Hollow screw conveyors
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2200/00Details of gasification apparatus
    • C10J2200/15Details of feeding means
    • C10J2200/156Sluices, e.g. mechanical sluices for preventing escape of gas through the feed inlet
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2200/00Details of gasification apparatus
    • C10J2200/31Mobile gasifiers, e.g. for use in cars, ships or containers
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2300/00Details of gasification processes
    • C10J2300/09Details of the feed, e.g. feeding of spent catalyst, inert gas or halogens
    • C10J2300/0913Carbonaceous raw material
    • C10J2300/0916Biomass
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2300/00Details of gasification processes
    • C10J2300/09Details of the feed, e.g. feeding of spent catalyst, inert gas or halogens
    • C10J2300/0953Gasifying agents
    • C10J2300/0956Air or oxygen enriched air
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2300/00Details of gasification processes
    • C10J2300/16Integration of gasification processes with another plant or parts within the plant
    • C10J2300/1625Integration of gasification processes with another plant or parts within the plant with solids treatment
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2300/00Details of gasification processes
    • C10J2300/16Integration of gasification processes with another plant or parts within the plant
    • C10J2300/164Integration of gasification processes with another plant or parts within the plant with conversion of synthesis gas
    • C10J2300/1643Conversion of synthesis gas to energy
    • C10J2300/165Conversion of synthesis gas to energy integrated with a gas turbine or gas motor
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10JPRODUCTION OF PRODUCER GAS, WATER-GAS, SYNTHESIS GAS FROM SOLID CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL, OR MIXTURES CONTAINING THESE GASES; CARBURETTING AIR OR OTHER GASES
    • C10J2300/00Details of gasification processes
    • C10J2300/16Integration of gasification processes with another plant or parts within the plant
    • C10J2300/1693Integration of gasification processes with another plant or parts within the plant with storage facilities for intermediate, feed and/or product
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10KPURIFYING OR MODIFYING THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF COMBUSTIBLE GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE
    • C10K1/00Purifying combustible gases containing carbon monoxide
    • C10K1/02Dust removal
    • C10K1/026Dust removal by centrifugal forces
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E50/00Technologies for the production of fuel of non-fossil origin
    • Y02E50/10Biofuels
    • Y02E50/14Bio-pyrolysis

Abstract

Apparatuses, systems, char cooling augers, and methods for cooling biochar are described. An example system may include a char cooling auger coupled to a gasifier. The char cooling auger including a receiving hopper and an outer tube. The receiving hopper configured to receive and hold biochar from the gasifier. The receiving hopper configured to feed the biochar to a screw conveyor. The screw conveyor configured to rotate to transport the biochar from a first end of the outer tube to an outlet port near a second end of the outer tube. A temperature of the outer tube is less than a temperature of the biochar such that the biochar is cooled as transported through the outer tube prior to collection of the biochar.

Description

APPARATUSES, SYSTEMS, COOLING AUGERS, AND METHODS FOR

COOLING BIOCHAR

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] We hereby claim benefit under Title 35, United States Code, Section 1 19(e) of United States provisional patent application Serial Number 62/046,080, filed September 4, 2014. The 62/046,080 application is hereby incorporated by reference into this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] A gasification system is designed to heat biomass feedstock (e.g., straw) to extremely high temperatures in order to break apart the molecular bonds. During this process, the resultant syngas and byproducts are super-heated as they exit the gasifier. Thus, the syngas and other byproducts need to be cooled before collection and storage. Conventional gasifier systems do not provide a mechanism for cooling these materials.

SUMMARY

[0003] An example system is disclosed herein. The example system may include a char cooling auger coupled to a gasifier. The char cooling auger may include a receiving hopper and a screw conveyor that is housed within an outer tube. The receiving hopper is configured to receive and hold biochar from the gasifier and is further configured to feed the biochar to flighting on the screw conveyor. As the screw conveyor rotates, the biochar is moved within and along the outer tube as it is transported from a first end of the auger to an outlet port near a second end of the auger. Because the temperature of the outer tube is less than a temperature of the biochar, the biochar is cooled as transported through the outer tube. The temperature of the outer tube may be maintained via a fan (i.e., via forced convection), or simply through natural convection.

[0004] Another example system may include a gasifier configured to gasify biomass to provide syngas and biochar, and a hopper configured to collect and store the biochar. The example system may further include a char cooling auger configured to cool the biochar received from the gasifier prior to providing the biochar to the hopper.

[0005] Example methods are disclosed herein. An example method may include receiving biochar from a gasifier. The biochar may be generated by gasifying organic feedstock. The example method may further include transporting the biochar through a char cooling auger. The biochar may be cooled as it is transported through the char cooling auger. The example method may further include collecting and storing the biochar in a hopper after transporting the biochar through the char cooling auger.

[0006] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, some of the features and embodiments of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features and embodiments of the invention that will be described hereinafter and that will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0007] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction or to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Various other examples, features, and attendant advantages of examples described herein will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0009] Figure 1 is first perspective view of a char cooling auger according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0010] Figure 2 is a second perspective view of the char cooling auger according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0011] Figure 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the char cooling auger according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0012] Figure 4 is a block diagram of a gasification system according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0013] Figure 5 is first perspective view of a mobile gasification system according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0014] Figure 6 is a second perspective view of the mobile gasification system according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0015] Figure 7 is perspective view of a char cooling auger with fins according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] The present invention is generally directed to a cooling auger used in a mobile gasification system that may be configured to cool biochar or another byproduct (hereinafter referred to a biochar) generated during gasification of an organic feedstock. The cooling auger may transfer or conduct heat away from the biochar as it is propagated through the char cooling auger. Many of the specific details of certain embodiments of the invention are presented in the following description and in Figures 1-7, to provide a thorough understanding of such embodiments. One skilled in the art will understand, however, that the present invention may have additional embodiments, or that the present invention may be practiced without several of the details described in the following description.

[0017] Figures 1-3 depict various views of a char cooling auger 104 according to an embodiment of the invention. Figure 1 is a first perspective view of char cooling auger 104, Figure 2 is a second perspective view of char cooling auger 104, and Figure 3 is a cross-sectional side view of char cooling auger 104. Char cooling auger 104 may include an outer tube 130 that extends from a bottom plate 132 to a top plate 138. Outer tube 130 may include a first attachment band 134 and a second attachment band 136 configured to attach or support the weight of the installed char cooling auger 104, or to attach a fan or other mechanism to char cooling auger 104. A first end of outer tube 130 may be attached to a receiving hopper 120. Receiving hopper 120 may include a receiving hopper cap 110 having an inlet port 1 12. Inlet port 1 12 may receive the heated biochar generated during a gasification process. The heated biochar may collect in receiving hopper 120. Receiving hopper 120 may further include a maintenance access port 140 to provide access into receiving hopper 120 for maintenance purposes, such as to clear out a clog.

[0018] A second end of outer tube 130 may be attached to an outlet port 180. Outlet port 180 may provide cooled biochar to a hopper (not shown) for collection. Char cooling auger 104 may include rotation mechanism 160 that includes a motor 162 to rotate a screw conveyor 165 within outer tube 130 to transfer biochar from receiving hopper 120 to outlet port 180. Rotation mechanism 160 may include a center rod 164 that is splined at the top to connect to motor 162. Motor 162 may be connected directly to center rod 164 or may be connected indirectly via a drive chain or belt 163 and a drive wheel/gear 161. The flighting of screw conveyor 165 may be affixed (e.g., welded) to center rod 164. Center rod 164 may include an attachment means at each end to hold center rod 164 in place within outer tube 130 (e.g., a lock collar). The speed of the rotation of center rod 164 may be controlled by the rotational speed of motor 162. [0019] Char cooling auger 104 may further include one or more thermocouples 172 that measure a temperature of the biochar leaving receiving hopper 120 via outer tube 130 near the first end. Char cooling auger 104 may further include one or more thermocouples 170 that measure a temperature of the biochar near the second end. The temperature information received via thermocouples 172 and thermocouples 170 may be used to control residence time of the biochar within outer tube 130 by controlling the rotation speed of center rod 164.

[0020] In operation, receiving hopper 120 may receive heated biochar via inlet port 112. The heated biochar may be received from a cyclone that separates the biochar from a syngas stream provided from a gasifier. Receiving hopper 120 may feed (e.g., via gravity or some other feed mechanism) the heated biochar to screw conveyor 165 for transport up outer tube 130. Char cooling auger 104 may cool the biochar by conducting heat away from the biochar via outer tube 130 as it is transported from receiving hopper 120 to outlet port 180. The cooled biochar may exit char cooling auger 104 via outlet port 180 at the top of outer tube 130. hi some examples, outer tube 130 may be exposed to ambient air temperatures, which are significantly lower than the temperatures of the superheated biochar received in receiving hopper 120 via inlet port 112. Center rod 164 of char cooling auger 104 may rotate screw conveyor 165 at a relatively slow rate to ensure significant residence time (e.g., 10 minutes or more) of the biochar within outer tube 130. The longer the biochar is resident in outer tube 130, the greater the amount of heat transferred from the biochar. Two factors may control residence time within outer tube 130: 1) length of outer tube 130, (and ultimately auger 104), and 2) rotation speed of center rod 164. The rotation speed of center rod 164 may be based on the dimensions (e.g., circumference and length) of outer tube 130, as well as the temperature of the biochar received at receiving hopper 120. In some examples, center rod 164 may rotate at less than five rotations-per-minute (RPMs). In some examples, the residence time may be set such that the temperature of the biochar may be less than 160 degrees Celsius at outlet port 180.

[0021] In a preferred embodiment, outer tube 130 may be between 90 and 1 10 inches in length with a diameter of between 5 and 7 inches, although other dimensions are within the scope of the invention. In a specific example, the flighting of screw conveyor 165 may be between four and 6.5 inches in diameter with a half pitch, although other dimensions are within the scope of the invention as well. The tight clearance between screw conveyor 165 and outer tube 130 may prevent large amounts of the biochar from sliding back down outer tube 130 into receiving hopper 120. Further, the half pitch may allow char-cooling auger 104 to transfer the biochar when installed at a steep angle. At 2.5 inch pitch (e.g., half-pitch of a 5 inch diameter of the flighting of screw conveyor 165) and a 100 inch length of outer tube 130, it would take 40 revolutions to traverse the entire length of outer tube 130. A char cooling auger with these dimensions and a rotation speed of 4 RPMs may result in a bio char residence/cooling time of at least 10 minutes. In this example, char cooling auger 104 may be able to drop the temperature of the biochar from 800 degrees Celsius to under 150 degrees Celsius. In some examples, char cooling auger 104 may be part of a continuously pressurized system that allows collection of the syngas produced during the gasification process (e.g., by preventing the syngas from escaping into the atmosphere). By dropping the temperature to under 150 degrees Celsius, damage to the airlock components that are used to pressurize the system may be prevented. Thus, by cooling the biochar before passage outside of the pressurized system and collection, less expensive, low-temp airlock components may be used.

[0022] The dimensions of char cooling auger 104 discussed with reference to Figures 1 -3 are exemplary. Other dimensions may be contemplated based on factors such as a size and layout of an installed gasification system, airlock operational temperature limits, etc., and are considered to be within the scope of the invention.

[0023] The Figure 4 is a block diagram of a gasification system 400 according to an embodiment of the invention. Gasification system 400 may include a hopper 422, a staging hopper 462, and a blower 480 that feeds the feedstock and combustion air into a gasifier 460. Gasifier 460 may provide syngas as an output to a cyclone 426. Cyclone 426 may be configured to separate biochar that become entrained in the syngas flow and to provide the syngas to a heat exchanger 429. A char cooling auger 428 may receive the separated biochar from cyclone 426 and may collect the biochar in a hopper 484 via airlocks 482. Char cooling auger 428 may include char cooling auger 104 of Figures 1-3. Char cooling auger 428 may cool the biochar prior to providing the biochar to airlocks 482.

[0024] In some embodiments, gasification system 400 may include a fan 427 configured to blow air across char cooling auger 428 to enhance heat transfer from the biochar. In some embodiments, char cooling auger 428 may include fins that are affixed to the outside of the outer tube to enhance heat transfer away from char cooling auger 428. The fins may improve heat transfer of the biochar as it traverses char cooling auger 428. Fins 736(0-7) may be extruded fin stock, folded fin stock, lanced and offset fins, or other common fins that are welded, brazed, or otherwise permanently affixed to the char cooling auger.

[0025] Heat exchanger 429 may extract heat from the syngas provided to it by cyclone 426. Heat exchanger 429 may provide the cooled syngas to an engine 442. Engine 442 may use the syngas as fuel to operate. Engine 442 may be coupled to a generator 440, and may drive generator 440 to provide electrical power.

[0026] In operation, gasification system 400 may gasify feedstock generated from residual biomass. The feedstock may be provided from hopper 422 to gasifier 460 via staging hopper 462. Gasification system 400 may be a continuous flow system such that the feedstock is delivered from hopper 422 to gasifier 460 via staging hopper 462 in a continuous fashion to enable an uninterrupted flow of feedstock within the combustion chamber of gasifier 460 for continual operation thereof. Gasifier 460 may gasify the feedstock by reacting it with heat and combustion air. The combustion air may be introduced to gasifier 460 via blower 480. Blower 480 may be coupled to gasifier 460 such that airflow through gasifier 460 may be controlled in two different ways. That is, blower 480 may be connected to gasifier 460 to push combustion air into gasifier 460, or to pull resultant gasses from gasifier 460. In other words, gasifier 460 may operate under vacuum (e.g., with blower 480 coupled between the output of gasifier 460 and the input of cyclone 426) or under pressure (e.g., with blower 480 coupled to an input of gasifier 460). Each method has its advantages. The use of a vacuum system removing the syngas from gasifier 460 may eliminate a potential for leakage of flammable gas to the atmosphere, as the entire system is at a negative pressure relative to the atmosphere. If a leak did develop, ambient air would be forced into gasifier 460, rather than flammable syngas leaking out.

[0027] The use of a pressure system to inject the combustion air into gasifier 460 may reduce a likelihood of fouling of blower 480, because the combustion air is relatively clean as compared to the syngas stream, which may include tars and other entrained particulates that can foul blowrer 460 and degrade its operation or cause it to malfunction. In some examples, the gasification system 400 may be configurable to switch between pressure and vacuum operation based on desired operating conditions.

[0028] Gasifier 460 may include a preheater that preheats the combustion air and feedstock using hot syngas output from the preheater prior to cyclone 426. Heating the combustion air and/or the feedstock improves gasification efficiency. For example, heating the feedstock may reduce its moisture content prior to entering gasifier 460. Additionally, preheating the combustion air using the generated syngas drives up system efficiency by reducing the time required for gasification temperatures within gasifier 460 to be reached.

[0029] Cyclone 426 may be used for separating biochar that has become entrained in the syngas flow and for providing cleaned syngas to the heat exchanger 429. Char cooling auger 428 may collect the biochar separated from the syngas by cyclone 426 and provide the collected biochar to hopper 484 via airlocks 482. Airlocks 482 may meter an amount of syngas that escapes during the transfer of the biochar to hopper 484 and when biochar is offloaded from hopper 484, and char cooling auger 428 may cool the biochar to be within operational limits of airlocks 482. In some embodiments, fan 427 may blow air across char cooling auger 428 to enhance cooling of the biochar. Upon receiving cleaned syngas from cyclone 426, heat exchanger 429 may provide cooled syngas to engine 442. Engine 442 may use the provided syngas as fuel to operate. Engine 442 may be coupled to generator 440, and may drive generator 440 to provide electrical power. In some examples, engine 442 and/or generator 440 may be replaced with any combination of a storage tank, a furnace, a pump, or other device which may use or be driven by the syngas produced by gasifier 460 or through which stored syngas energy or syngas can be output (turbine, blower, etc.). Control system 470 may be used to control various components of gasification system 400 based on data collected from its components. In some embodiments, control system 470 may measure a power output of generator 440 to determine whether too little or too much syngas is being produced, for example, to operate engine 442.

[0030] In some embodiments, control system 470 may control char cooling auger 428. For example, control system 470 may receive temperature data from thermocouples attached to char cooling auger 428 (e.g., thermocouples 172 and the thermocouples 170 of Figures 1-3), and may adjust the rotation speed of char cooling auger 428 based on the temperature data. If the temperature of the biochar exiting char cooling auger 428 is too high or the temperature of the biochar received from the gasifier increases, control system 470 may reduce the rotation speed of char cooling auger 428. Alternatively, if the temperature of the biochar exiting char cooling auger 428 is too low or the temperature of the biochar received from the gasifier decreases, control system 470 may increase the rotation speed of char cooling auger 428. Further, control system 470 may control fan 427 (e.g., on or off, or control speed of the fan), in some embodiments, to enhance the heat transfer.

[0031] Figures 5 and 6 depict various views of a mobile gasification system 510 having a char cooling auger 528 according to an embodiment of the invention. Figure 5 is a first perspective view of mobile gasification system 510 having char cooling auger 528 and Figure 6 is a second perspective view of mobile gasification system 510 having char cooling auger 528. Mobile gasification system 510 may implement all or a portion of gasification system 400 of Figure 4. Mobile gasification system 510 may be a modular design that includes at least cyclone 526, char cooling auger 528, airlocks 582, and hopper 584. Cyclone 526 may be configured to separate biochar that become entrained in the syngas flow. Char cooling auger 528 may receive the separated biochar from cyclone 526 and may direct the biochar to hopper 584 via airlocks 582. Char cooling auger 528 may include char cooling auger 104 of Figures 1-3 and/or char cooling auger 428 of Figure 4. Char cooling auger 528 preferably cools the biochar prior to providing the biochar to airlocks 582.

[0032] Figure 7 depicts a perspective view 700 of a char cooling auger 704 according to an embodiment of the invention. Char cooling auger 704 may include elements that have been previously described with respect to char cooling auger 104 of Figures 1-3. Those elements have been identified in Figure 7 using the same reference numbers used in Figures 1-3 and operation of the common elements is as previously described. Consequently, a detailed description of the operation of these particular elements will not be repeated in the interest of brevity. Char cooling auger 704 may be implemented in char cooling auger 428 of Figure 4 and/or char cooling auger 528 of Figure 5.

[0033] Char cooling auger 704 may include an outer tube 730 that extends from a bottom plate 132 to a top plate 138. Outer tube 730 may include a first attachment band 734 and a second attachment band 736 configured to attach or support the weight of the installed char cooling auger 704, or to attach a fan or other mechanism to char cooling auger 704. A first end of outer tube 730 may be attached to a receiving hopper 120. A second end of outer tube 730 may be attached to an outlet port 180. Outlet port 180 may provide cooled biochar to a hopper (not shown) for collection.

[0034] Char cooling auger 704 may include fins 736(0-7) that are affixed (e.g., welded or secured via another attachment means) to the outside of outer tube 730. Fins 736(0-7) may enhance heat transfer away from outer tube 730, which may improve heat transfer of the biochar as it traverses outer tube 730. The fins 736(0-7) may be extruded fin stock, folded fin stock, lanced and offset fins, or other common fins that are wrelded, brazed, bolted, riveted or otherwise permanently or removably affixed to outer tube 730 so as to conduct heat. Fins 736(0-7) may be any shape and/or type as are commonly used to increase surface area. Outer tube 736(0-7) may simply have a rough surface, such as a hammered, beaded, or blasted surface to enhance heat transfer. [0035] In operation, receiving hopper 120 may receive heated biochar via inlet port 1 12. Receiving hopper 120 may feed (e.g., via gravity or some other feed mechanism) the heated biochar to screw conveyor 165 for transport up outer tube 130. Char cooling auger 704 may cool the biochar by conducting heat away from the biochar via outer tube 730 as it is transported from receiving hopper 120 to outlet port 180. Fins 736(0-7) may enhance the heat transfer properties of outer shell 730. Fins 736(0-7) may be exposed to ambient air or may be exposed to a fan or blower that blows ambient air across fins 736(0-7). The cooled biochar may exit char cooling auger 704 at outlet port 180.

[0036] The number, position, orientation, and shape of fins 736(0-7) shown in Figure 7 is exemplary. More, less, and/or different fins may be included on outer tube 730. Further, position and orientation of individual fins differ from the position and orientation of fins in Figure 7, such as including fins on other or additional sides of outer tube 730, or orienting the fins in a direction more perpendicular to the flow of the biochar within outer tube 730. In some examples, char cooling auger 704 may include a shroud to direct air over fins 736(0-7) and/or outer tube 730.

[0037] The above description of illustrated embodiments of the invention is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. While specific embodiments of, and examples of, the invention are described in the foregoing for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will realize. Moreover, the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be determined entirely by the following claims.

Claims

CLAIMS What is claimed is:
1. A system, comprising:
a char cooling auger coupled to a gasifier, the char cooling auger comprising a receiving hopper and an outer tube, the receiving hopper configured to receive and hold biochar from the gasifier, the receiving hopper configured to feed the biochar to a screw conveyor extending through the outer tube, the screw conveyor configured to transport the biochar from a first end of the outer tube to an outlet port near a second end of the outer tube, wherein a temperature of the outer tube is less than a temperature of the biochar such that the biochar is cooled as it is transported through the outer tube prior to collection of the biochar in a collection hopper.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the char cooling auger is coupled to the gasifier via a cyclone configured to separate syngas from the biochar.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the char cooling auger further comprises a rotation mechanism configured to rotate the screw conveyor to transport the biochar the outlet port.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein the rotation mechanism comprises a motor .
5. The system of claim 4, wherein the motor is directly connected to the screw conveyor via a drive belt or a drive chain.
6. The system of claim 3, further comprising a control system configured to control a resident time of the biochar within the outer tube based on temperature data associated with the biochar by controlling the rotation mechanism.
7. The system of claim 6, further comprising a thermocouple configured to provide the temperature data to the control system.
8. The system of claim 1, further comprising airlocks coupled to the outlet port, the airlocks configured to hold pressure within the char cooling auger pressurized while allowing the biochar to exit the char cooling auger.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein the collection hopper is coupled to the airlocks and configured to receive and hold the biochar provided at from the outlet port.
10. The system of claim 1, further comprising a fan configured to blow- air over the outer tube to enhance conduction of heat away from the outer tube.
11. A system comprising:
a gasifier configured to gasify biomass to provide syngas and biochar;
a hopper configured to collect and store the biochar; and
a char cooling auger configured to cool the biochar received from the gasifier prior to providing the biochar to the hopper.
12. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the char cooling auger comprises a screw conveyor configured to transport the biochar within an outer tube.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein the char cooling auger further comprises a rotation mechanism configured to rotate the screw conveyor.
14. The system of claim 12, further comprising fins affixed to the outer tube and configured to conduct heat away from the outer tube.
15. A method, comprising:
receiving biochar from a gasifier, wherein the biochar is generated by gasifying organic feedstock;
transporting the biochar through a char cooling auger, wherein the biochar is cooled as it is transported through the char cooling auger; and
collecting and storing the biochar in a hopper after transporting the biochar through the char cooling auger.
16. The method of claim 15, further comprising controlling a rotation speed of a center rod of a screw conveyor within the char cooling auger, wherein the screw conveyor includes flighting that is affixed to the center rod and is configured to transport the biochar.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein controlling the rotation speed of the center rod within the char cooling auger is based on the temperature of the biochar at the outlet port.
18. The method of claim 16, further comprising sensing the temperature of the biochar at the outlet port.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising slowing the rotation speed of the center rod responsive to the temperature of the biochar at the outlet port exceeding a threshold.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the threshold is an operational limit of the airlock.
PCT/US2015/048636 2014-09-04 2015-09-04 Apparatuses, systems, cooling augers, and methods for cooling biochar WO2016037103A1 (en)

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