North Dakota Research Center Demos Methanol from Wood for Off-Grid Power
(The Energy & Environmental Research Center/Biorefining Magazine) The Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks has successfully developed and demonstrated a mobile, trailer-mounted biomass gasification technology that converts wood waste into methanol and can be transported to remote, off-grid sites. The methanol can then be reformed into hydrogen to power fuel cells to produce electricity.
“Using power generation in off-grid sites eliminates the need to build transmission lines in remote areas, which ultimately saves utility ratepayers money,” said EERC Senior Research Advisor John Hurley. “The wood-to-fuel technology provides a renewable, nearly carbon dioxide neutral method to fuel distributed power generators.”
The largely automated system uses a unique gasifier to convert the wood waste into a blended gas, which is cleaned and compressed and then passed through a gas-to-liquids reactor to convert the gas to a liquid fuel—methanol. Methanol is one of the simplest alcohol types, which even preceded ethanol for vehicle use, and is easily converted to clean hydrogen.
…“We specifically designed this system to handle wet wood waste with up to 40 percent moisture, saving the need to separately dry the wood before gasification, as most commercial gasifiers require.” READ MORE