Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit

San Michele, Italy

Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit

San Michele, Italy
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Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Schuhfried E.,University of Innsbruck | Lanzini A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | And 6 more authors.
Fuel Processing Technology | Year: 2015

Efficient power technologies such as high temperature fuel cells demand ultra-low concentrations of contaminants in the fuel feed e.g. < 1 ppm(v), imposing stringent requirements on fuel clean-up technology. Proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), being fast and suitable to measure ultra-low concentrations can be an optimal tool for the characterization of clean-up methods. It is exploited here for the simultaneous measurement of breakthrough curves of biogas filters loaded with a mix of compounds that simulate biogas pollutants. The sorbent materials are able to efficiently remove propanethiol and butanethiol and to a lesser degree methanethiol and hydrogen sulfide. Carbon disulfide and dimethylsulfide were the compounds that elute from the filters. These results support the development of set-ups for the cleaning of real biogas from the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) and its use for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) feeding. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Soukoulis C.,Research and Innovation Center | Schuhfried E.,University of Innsbruck | And 5 more authors.
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2012

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) formed during anaerobic digestion of aerobically pre-treated Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW), have been monitored over a 30 day period by a direct injection mass spectrometric technique: Proton Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). Most of the tentatively identified compounds exhibited a double-peaked emission pattern which is probably the combined result from the volatilization or oxidation of the biomass-inherited organic compounds and the microbial degradation of organic substrates. Of the sulfur compounds, hydrogen sulfide had the highest accumulative production. Alkylthiols were the predominant sulfur organic compounds, reaching their maximum levels during the last stage of the process. H2S formation seems to be influenced by the metabolic reactions that the sulfur organic compounds undergo, such as a methanogenesis induced mechanism i.e. an amino acid degradation/sulfate reduction. Comparison of different batches indicates that PTR-ToF-MS is a suitable tool providing information for rapid in situ bioprocess monitoring. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Schuhfried E.,University of Innsbruck | Lanzini A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | And 5 more authors.
Fuel Processing Technology | Year: 2014

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) fed by biogenic fuels are a key renewable energy technology. Fuel contaminants, and sulfur compounds in particular, can strongly decrease SOFC performance. For this reason, their accurate, high sensitivity, and rapid monitoring and the development of successful removal strategies are major challenges in SOFC research. In this work the removal efficiency of commercial activated carbon filters for biogas filtering upstream of an SOFC was investigated using a Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometry instrument (PTR-MS). In particular, we tested sulfur compounds by focusing on the effect of co-vapor adsorption (aromatic, carbonyl and chloro-compounds which are biogas pollutants) on filter performance. The results demonstrate the applicability of PTR-MS for investigating covapor effects which are of practical relevance for SOFC development. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Tognana L.,SOFCpower S.P.A. | Lanzini A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | And 5 more authors.
Fuel Processing Technology | Year: 2015

Biogas from the dry anaerobic digestion of OFMSW from a pilot plant was analyzed in terms of sulfur compound removal through a gas cleaning section based on activated carbons, from lab. scale to real plant. In general, even the presence of sub-ppm(v) of selected biogas contaminants can hamper the life-time of SOFC systems. For this reason, stringent fuel cell quality requirements apply. The challenge of real-time monitoring of the performance and quality of the fuel feeding the SOFC can be solved through the use of PTR-MS. This technique - once properly and preliminary calibrated as shown in this study - has the capability of rapidly resolving the wide spectrum of contaminants slipping from the clean-up section. A commercial sorbent material was adopted to remove sulfur compounds and was tested for 80 h in a pilot gas cleaning system. H2S, the main sulfur compound detected (99.36% of total sulfurs) was removed to a satisfactory level. The sulfur compounds elute from the cleaning section in the following order: CH3SH, CH3SCH3, CH3CH2CH2SH, CH3(CH2)3SH, CS2 and H2S. The filter section was able to provide a clean biogas (1 ppm(v)) throughout the whole experimental trial (almost 450 h) with an average H2S inlet concentration of 52 ppm(v). © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Lanzini A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Tognana L.,SOFCpower spa | And 2 more authors.
Energy | Year: 2015

Organic waste collection from local municipal areas with subsequent energy valorization through CHP systems allows for a reduction of waste disposal in landfill. Pollutant emissions released into the atmosphere are also reduced in this way. Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems are among the most promising energy generators, due to their high electrical efficiency (>50%), even at part loads. In this work, the local organic fraction of municipal solid waste has been digested in a dry anaerobic digester pilot plant and a biogas stream with methane and carbon dioxide concentrations ranging from 60-70 and 30-40% vol., respectively, has been obtained. Trace compounds from the digester and after the gas clean-up section have been detected by means of a new technique that exploits the protonation reactions between the volatile compounds of interest and the ion source. Sulfur, chlorine and siloxane compounds have been removed from as-produced biogas through the use of commercial sorbent materials, such as activated carbons impregnated with metals. A buffer gas cylinder tank has been inserted downstream from the filtering section to compensate for the biogas fluctuations from the digester. The technical feasibility of the dry anaerobic process of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, coupled with a gas cleaning section and an SOFC system, has been proved experimentally with an electrical efficiency ranging from 32 to 36% for 400 h under POx conditions. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Tomasi L.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Silvestri S.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | And 4 more authors.
Fuel Processing Technology | Year: 2016

The feasibility of reusing waste materials as an inexpensive sorbent to remove volatile organic compounds from gaseous waste streams has been demonstrated. Ashes from wood-chips were tested as sorbent materials for VOCs removal with a PTR-ToF-MS instrument. Both scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX) and BET analysis were used to identify the structural characteristics, elemental composition and surface area of the tested ashes respectively. Most of the tentatively identified compounds were less strongly adsorbed by wet ash: thiols, siloxanes, carbonyl compounds and terpenes. Hydrogen sulfide and alcohols show improving removal performance in wet conditions. These results are related to the water solubility properties. Siloxanes were tentatively identified and monitored with PTR-ToF-MS. This demonstrates how this instrument is a suitable tool for simultaneously providing a multitude of analysis for rapid in situ monitoring of fuel contaminants. Considering the low cost, and the recycling of environmental pollutants, wood ashes are a possible choice for VOCs removal from biogas. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Tomasi L.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Silvestri S.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Santarelli M.,Polytechnic University of Turin
Fuel Processing Technology | Year: 2016

A practical and feasible solution to reduce the global impacts from fossil fuels is represented by the locally distributed micro-cogeneration systems with high temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) fed by biogenous fuel coupled in an energy distributed system. One of the main drawback is the low tolerability towards certain fuel impurities, mostly sulfur, chlorine and siloxane compounds. The opportunity to predict the breakthrough time of a gas cleaning section with a high precision level is mandatory to meet SOFC requirements. The reaction kinetic equation called the Wheeler-Jonas equation is adopted to estimate this breakthrough time. Two different commercial activated carbons were studied estimating the breakthrough time varying the operating temperature, the pollutant concentration (single and multiple effects) and the relative humidity. Results showed how relative humidity content affects inversely the removal performance for both sorbents. The Carbox sample, below RH 20% showed interesting results due to its metals content and microstructure. Here, relative humidity promoted the best condition to remove organic vapors from the biogas stream. Multiple contaminant conditions for both sorbent materials decreased the removal performance (tb). This decreasing for the Carbox sample ranged from a minimum of 44% to a maximum of 50% for H2S, and 70% for HCl with wet and dry conditions respectively. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Papurello D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Papurello D.,Biomass and Renewable Energy Unit | Lanzini A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Fiorilli S.,Polytechnic University of Turin | And 3 more authors.
Chemical Engineering Journal | Year: 2016

The most thermodynamically stable sulfur compound in the anode electrode at SOFC temperature is H2S, which dissociates on a nickel (Ni) surface according to a chemisorption mechanism. In this study, SOFC performance losses have been quantified in the presence of H2S contamination. The deactivation process has been well quantified by correlating it to Ni surface coverage by sulfur through a Temkin-like isotherm adsorption process. The detailed microscopic features of an Ni-based electrode have been taken into account to quantitatively predict atomic sulfur adsorption on the Ni surface. The results show that, in anode-supported cells, the entire available Ni surface is affected by sulfur contamination and not just the three-phase-boundary (TPB) region.Experiments on both commercial single-cells and on a stack have been described in this work. The H2S concentration was varied from 0.8 to 6.5ppm(v) in the single-cell experiments, and between 0.01 and 25ppm(v) in the stack experiment. The time-to-coverage evaluation has been established on the basis of the relationship between the sulfur capacity of the Ni anode and the sulfur flow rate through the fuel feed. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) formed during anaerobic digestion of aerobically pre-treated Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW), have been monitored over a 30 day period by a direct injection mass spectrometric technique: Proton Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). Most of the tentatively identified compounds exhibited a double-peaked emission pattern which is probably the combined result from the volatilization or oxidation of the biomass-inherited organic compounds and the microbial degradation of organic substrates. Of the sulfur compounds, hydrogen sulfide had the highest accumulative production. Alkylthiols were the predominant sulfur organic compounds, reaching their maximum levels during the last stage of the process. H(2)S formation seems to be influenced by the metabolic reactions that the sulfur organic compounds undergo, such as a methanogenesis induced mechanism i.e. an amino acid degradation/sulfate reduction. Comparison of different batches indicates that PTR-ToF-MS is a suitable tool providing information for rapid in situ bioprocess monitoring.

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