They produce electrical energy through wood chips

Inspenet, April 14, 2023

Scientists from the National University of Río Cuarto (UNRC) in Argentina produce electrical energy through organic materials –wood chips, in this case– that have a humidity of less than 60 percent.

For this, they develop a biomass reactor that performs thermochemical transformations and, through different stages, creates the gas that feeds electricity generators. The development is carried out within the framework of a public-private consortium made up of the UNRC and Canale , a Cordovan company that produces pallets for auto parts and export.

The reactor has four stages: in the first, the material is dried, in the second, carbon chains are produced that are transformed into tar, and in the third, high-temperature oxidation is carried out to generate a combustible gas called ‘synthesis gas’. and in the last part, the gas is conditioned, cooled and filtered to generate electricity.

Leonardo Molisani, PhD in Mechanical Engineering and director of the work, highlights: “The importance of these reactors lies in the fact that waste from other industries can be used to generate electrical energy in the form of distributed generation, that is, it can be placed in different regions and make little plants.

Neither in Argentina nor in Latin America are these devices made to transform organic materials into electrical energy. It is an environmentally friendly alternative where industrial waste is used and added value is given, generating a positive impact on the ecosystem.

In this way, the wood chips generated by the Canale company are used as fuel in the reactor, which, in turn, produces the synthesis gas that feeds the power generators. “There are many industries, both in the agricultural and industrial part, that have a huge amount of biomass available to be used in these reactors and generate thermal and electrical energy,” the engineer highlights.

The objective is for the reactors to be produced in series to replace energy imports and promote national production and diversification of the electrical matrix. Although there are still steps to be taken to improve its performance and offer the manufacturing technology to the market, it is an innovative initiative that meets the environmental requirements of the 21st century.

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