Module 2: Solid Fossil Fuel (Coal) Lecture 15: Coal Gasification

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1 1 P age Module 2: Solid Fossil Fuel (Coal) Lecture 15: Coal Gasification

2 2 P age Keywords: Coal preparation, purification, gasification, gasifier, syngas 2.6 Coal gasification Coal gasification technology is efficiently used for converting coal to power, chemicals, fertilizers, and fuels. This gasification process is a clean technology to decompose coal into its different components in presence of steam and oxygen at high pressure and high temperature. This leads to the production of synthesis gas, which is mainly a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Coal gasification can be utilized to produce methanol as alternative energy source. The major applications of coal gasification are in Power generation Fertilizer Methanol synthesis Hydrogen Hydrocarbons It provides the only route to convert coal to hydrogen directly. In this process, coal is combined with oxygen and steam to produce a combustible gas, waste gases, char, and ash. Coal gasification may be generally represented by reaction C m H n + 0.5mO 2 mco n H 2 Where, m and n depends on the composition of coal. The reactions in different stages of the process are as follows: i) CO + H 2 O CO 2 + H 2 ii) C + CO 2 2 CO iii) C + H 2 O CO + H 2 iv) CH 4 + H 2 O CO + 3H 2

3 3 P age The gasification of coal generally consist of four steps: Pre treatment of Coal Gasification Gas cleaning, and Gas beneficiation. The process flow diagram for coal gasification is described in Fig.1. Fig. 1 Coal Gasification Selection of suitable coal for gasification The selection of an appropriate coal is the important step at the initial stage of coal gasification. The various sources of coal samples are analyzed and compared in terms of their costs and compositions. The comparison is generally made by the percentages of sulfur content, fixed carbon, oxygen, ash and other volatile content. The sub-bituminous coal is found to have the lowest percentage of sulfur content in comparison with lignite and bituminous coal.

4 4 P age One important step in the preparation of the syngas is the removal of acid gas, which can be composed of H 2 S and CO 2. In high temperature processes all sulfur components in the feed are converted to undesired products, such as, H 2 S or COS, which are needed to be removed by acid gas removal process. Therefore, a low sulfur content coal is a desirable feed. Then ideally, the syngas mixture would have a 1:2 CO to H 2 ratio. Steam can also be used to produce more hydrogen by reacting it with carbon monoxide via the water-gas shift reaction for methanol synthesis: CO + H 2 O CO 2 + H 2 Methanol is produced by the reaction CO 2 + 3H 2 CH 3 OH + H 2 O Description of Gasification process Coal preparation In the pretreatment step, coal is first dried and crushed or pulverized for the fluid or entrained bed gasifiers. The moisture of coals should be removed by drying. Some caking coals may require partial oxidation to simplify gasifier operation. For feed to fixed bed gasifiers, briqueting of fines coal particle are required in the pretreatment process. Gasification The pre treated coal is charged into the gasification reactor where it reacts with oxygen (air) and steam. The gasification reaction usually takes place at high temperatures from 800 to 1900 C and high pressure up to 10 MPa. When coal is burned with less than a stoichiometric quantity of air, with or without steam, the product is a low-heat-content gas, which after purification can be used as fuel gas. Using oxygen in place of air produces medium-heatcontent gas. Some of CO must be reacted with steam by shift conversion to get additional hydrogen. The ashes from gasifier are removed as molten slag or dry condition.

5 5 P age Shell Coal Gasification Process is the oldest technology and it was the first commercial plant used in The process conditions were: Pressure: bar Temperature: C Oxygen/coal (MAF) ratio: 1 Steam pressures: bar Purification of product gas The gas products from the gasifier contain a mixture of different gases such as, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, other organic vapours and hydrogen sulfide in different concentrations. Nitrogen is also present in gas products if air is used. Other impurities are particulates, and water vapour. The product gas is then purified prior to their combustion through the removal of particulate matters, such as, coal dust, ash and tar aerosols. The tar and oil are removed by gas quenching method, and then the acid gas is removed by solvent treatment technology. The tar and oils are condensed in the gas quenching and cooling section of the plant. Ammonia is removed from the gas in a scrubber by using either aqueous or organic liquid. Acid gases such as H 2 S, COS, CS 2, mercaptans, and CO 2 can be removed from gas by an acid gas removal step, where it is treated with a solvent to absorb the acid gases. Methanol may be used as a solvent to separate acid gases such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide from feed gas streams. In the shift conversion process, H 2 O and a portion of the CO catalytically react to form CO 2 and H 2. After passing through an absorber for CO 2 removal, CO and H 2 remain in the product gas. They are reacted in a methanation reactor to yield CH 4 and H 2 O. Many processes are

6 6 P age directly related with a coal gasification process, such as, oxygen plant, power and steam plant, sulfur recovery unit etc. Different Gasification Technique Following types of Coal Gasification reactors may be used Fixed bed gasifier Moving bed gasifier Fluid bed gasifier Entrained-flow gasifiers. In the moving bed gasifier the coal bed slowly moves downwards counter currently with respect to air and is gasified. It has the lowest oxygen consumption. Moving bed gasifier can operate at the lowest temperature, which inhibits the reaction rate and increase the maintenance cost. The fluid bed gasifier facilitates good mixing and it has low overall cost. However, the conversion rate of carbon is lower in comparison with the other two types due to some carbon lost with the ash. Also the fluid bed gasifier is appropriate for low rank coals like lignite, as opposed to sub-bituminous. In the entrained flow gasifier, the fine coal particles react with cocurrently flowing steam and oxygen. Since the gasifier operates at a high temperature, a good conversion of about 99% is obtained and the destruction of tar and oil yields a very pure syngas. However, the entrained flow gasifier has a high oxygen demand and also the high ash content in the sub-bituminous coal would increase the oxygen consumption. Overall, the entrained flow gasifier is chosen as the gasifier technology for its high carbon conversion and purity of the resulting syngas.

7 7 P age Both the dry and wet coal feed can be used for the entrained gasifier. For dry coal feed, it requires about 25% less oxygen consumption and which can optimize the gas production rate. Whereas, a wet coal feed needs more oxygen consumption and it decreases the efficiency due to the evaporation of water. So, a dry coal feed is much better than a wet feed for the entrained flow gasifier to reduce the required oxygen. Two different types of gasifiers are used in dry-coal feed gasifiers, single stage and two stage gasifiers. In single stage entrained-flow gasifier, gas with high purity is obtained. It ensures low CO 2 and high carbon conversion, in a two-stage gasifier, there is an increase in the efficiency from single stage gasifier. The oxygen consumption is also less. Out of the types of gasifiers mentioned above, the Noell gasifier and the CCP gasifier can be considered. The Noell gasifier is a single stage gasifier. The CCP gasifier is relatively new and is advantageous because it uses air as the oxidant, which is readily available. The carbon conversion rate is 99.8%, with a variety of coals. Other advantages include lower NOx and SOx emissions, a reduction in solid waste generated.

8 8 P age Reference: 1. Kinetics of Coal Gasification, James L. Johnson, John Wiley & Sons; 1st edition Coal Combustion and Combustion Products, Xianglin Shen, Coal, Oil Shale, Natural Bitumen, Heavy Oil and Peat, Vol-1, Ed. G. Jinshen, East China University of Science and Technology, Encyclopaedia of Life Supports System. 3. David A. Bell, Brian F. Towler, Maohong Fan, Coal Gasification and Its Applications, Ebook, William Andrew.

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