On the role of potassium as a tar and soot inhibitor in biomass gasification

Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-75762
Access full text here:10.1016/j.apenergy.2019.113488
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Teknik och teknologier, Maskinteknik, Energiteknik, Potassium, Biomass, Gasification, Alkali, Soot, Tar
Publication year: 2019
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 7 Affordable and clean energySDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by OSDG.ai


The work investigates in a drop tube furnace the effect of potassium on carbon conversion for three different types of fuels: an ash lean stemwood, a calcium-rich bark and a silicon-rich straw. The study focuses on an optimal method for impregnating the biomass with potassium. The experiments are conducted for 3 different impregnation methods; wet impregnation, spray impregnation, and dry mixing to investigate different levels of contact between the fuel and the potassium. Potassium is found to catalyse both homogenous and heterogeneous reactions. All the impregnation methods showed a significant effect of potassium on heterogeneous reactions (char conversion). The fact that dry mixing of potassium in the biomass shows an effect reveals the existence of a gas-induced mechanism that supply and distributes potassium on the char particles. Concerning the effect of potassium on homogenous reactions, it is found that potassium in the gas phase leads to much lower yields of C2 hydrocarbons, heavy tars and soot. The results indicate that potassium reduces the likelihood of light aromatic to progress toward heavier polyaromatic hydrocarbons clusters, thereby inhibiting the formation of soot-like material. A moderate interaction between the added potassium and the inherent ash forming elements is also observed: Potassium has a smaller effect when the fuel is naturally rich in silicon. The combined results are of interest for the design of a gasification process that incorporates recirculation of naturally occurring potassium to improve entrained flow gasification of biomass.


Albert Bach-Oller

Luleå tekniska universitet; Energivetenskap
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Erik Furusjö

Luleå tekniska universitet; Energivetenskap; RISE Bioeconomy, Stockholm, Sweden
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Kentaro Umeki

Luleå tekniska universitet; Energivetenskap
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