The announcement by ICM last week on the commercial deployment of its biomass gasification system came just prior to the 4th International Biomass Conference and Expo in St. Louis last week, which gave the company much to talk about with attendees.
The technology has the capacity to covert 150 tons of biomass per day to a syngas that can then be used a a fuel for industrial power and heating applications and Dr. Bert Bennett, ICM Principal Scientist and Process Engineer, says they have been working on it for over three years. “We actually put it in development in 2007. We built the unit and put it into action in 2009 and have been operating for over two years,” he said. “We’re really pleased with how the unit’s performed and now we’ve officially begun to commercialize it.”
The system provides a new commercial platform to provide other energy sources for ethanol plants and other industries. “We’re interested in biomass, refuse-derived fuels, industrial processes – steam, heat, power, integrating our system into current plants and a broad base of power production,” said Bennett.
ICM tested more than 13 feedstocks and processed 7,000 tons of biomass over the past two years. “We put close to 4,000 tons of wood chips, that’s sort of the standard, a very easy fuel to do,” Bennett said. Other “hits” included refuse-derived fuels (RDF), tire chips, and corn stover. Some of the more challenging fuels they tested included manure, such as poultry litter.
In addition to producing syngas, ICM’s biomass gasification platform can co-produce biochar, a type of charcoal that can be used to lock carbon in the soil.
Listen to my interview with Dr. Bert Bennett here: Dr. Bert Bennett, ICM